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Workshop Cycle « Innovations for Resilience » February session: Frugal Innovation in a Crisis (Digital Fabrication and Resilient Manufacturing)

Workshop, Encounter/Debate / Event in English, Innovations for Resilience, Partnerships

On February 20, 2023

Saint-Martin-d'Hères - Domaine universitaire

portrait speaker

From September 2022 to July 2023, one Monday/month during lunch break, the Risk Institute proposes with INNOVACS a research workshop cycle opened to all academics and professionals to address the issue of citizens’ involvement in vulnerability reduction and risk management through easy-to-use, and light technologies.
Registration is free but mandatory. Remote access is possible on request.




" Frugal Innovation in a Crisis
(Digital Fabrication and Resilient Manufacturing)"


by Lucia CORSINI (IFM Consultant)
& Valeria DAMMICO (Cambridge University & Polytechnique-Paris)
Language: English

Lucia CORSINI (IFM Consultant) and Valeria DAMMICO (Cambridge University & Polytechnique-Paris) will present their paper: “Frugal innovation in a crisis: the digital fabrication maker response to covid-19" (in R&D Management, 2020).
Language:  English

Research paper’s abstract
The rapid spread of COVID-19 has led to a global shortfall in essential items, turning many countries into resource-constrained environments. In response, an unprecedented number of do-it-yourself hobbyists (i.e. makers) have started to use digital fabrication tools to pro-duce critical items. These bottom-up communities are mobilising as part of a global move-ment to produce innovative solutions to much-needed items, such as face masks, face shields and ventilators. As these individuals tackle widespread resource constraints, the conceptual lens of frugal innovation becomes highly relevant to study how these solutions developed. Frugal innovation is a type of resource-constrained innovation that refers to the practice of doing more with less, for more people. In this study, we present two instrumental case stud-ies of maker projects that use digital fabrication to tackle COVID-19. The first case study is from Italy (a High Income Country) and the second is from India (a Lower Middle Income Country). We analyse the frugality of these cases and highlight their similar approaches. In doing so, we suggest that current theories of frugal innovation can be expanded to new geo-graphical and technological contexts. We put forward that frugal innovation is an impor-tant strategy in crisis response beyond emerging markets and that digital fabrication can be considered as an important frugal innovation enabler, both in its ability to produce frugal solutions  and  to  support  distributed  networks  of  innovation  actors.  This  study  advances  knowledge  on  how  frugal  innovation  unfolds  in  the  Maker  movement.  It  is  among  one  of  the  first  studies  to  connect  the  domains  of  makers  and  frugal  innovation,  and  the  paper  concludes by identifying several promising areas for further research.
Full paper


1st part of the cycle: The digitalisation of essential services

. October 17th, 2022
The digitization of public action / Citizens inclusion issues
Périne BROTCORNE, (Louvain University, Belgium)
(FR - English Material)
Postponed to January 30th, 2023
E-Health & Health Crisis: Teleconsultation Devices - Caregivers’ perspectives
Marie BERTHOUD  (Lille University, France)
(FR - English Material)
. December 5th, 2022
Mobile (for) development : when digital giants take care of the poor.
Marine AL DAHDAH (CNRS, CEMS, French Institute of Pondichery, India)

2nd part of the cycle: Involving users? New trends in design methodologies

February 20th, 2023
Digital fabrication and resilient manufacturing
Lucia CORSINI (IFM Consultant) and Valeria DAMMICO (Cambridge University & Polytechnique-Paris, France)
March 20th, 2023
Making, experimenting and documenting low tech" / "Fabriquer, expérimenter et documenter les low tech
Morgan MEYER (Mines Paris Tech, France)
(FR - English Material)
April 3rd, 2023
The participatory patient in the geriatric health living lab
Dimitri VOILMY (Université de Technologie de Compiègne, France)
. April 24th, 2023
Innovations in Crisis Management and Response: digital humanitarians and early warning, early action systems
Kees BOERSMA (University of Amsterdam, Nederland)

3rd Part of the cycle: Innovations, vulnerabilities and territories

. Thermalism, vulnerability and territories
Adrien SONNET (LACES Lab., Bordeaux University, France)
(FR - English Material)
. Innovations for vulnerable territories: sustainable development as an opportunity for new patterns?
Nicolas BUCLET (PACTE Lab., Université Grenoble Alpes, France)

Workshop cycle conclusive conference
Gérald GAGLIO (sociologist of innovations)



Coordination: Jean-Luc Bosson (TIMC-Imag), Jean-François Boujut (G-Scop), Céline Cholez (PACTE)

The cluster Innovations for resilience is a multi-disciplinary research group (sociologists, geographers, historians, engineers, climatologists and geo-scientists, hydrologists, architects, physicians, managers, communicators...) involved in undesrtanding the spreading of "people-centered innovations" to make them actors of crisis management and enhance their resilience.

Actually, in a few years, many “smart” innovations explicitly dedicated to different types of crises management or vulnerabilities reduction have been developed by public and private players worldwide in order to integrate public concerned or recognized as concerned. The cluster research mainly tackles smart, decentralized, often small, and “easy-to-use” innovations that for some, benefit from the recent progress of microelectronics and digital industries, from the trend of artificial intelligence and the internet of things. This contributes to widespread agile and economical solutions (small sensors, mobile apps, for example) that, coupled with institutional innovations, are expected to complete or replace institutional and experts centered traditional responses.

Many of these innovations originate in a public-private partnership; they concern many different geographical and political territories; some are market-driven, some are “bottom-up” (emerging from a grass-root innovation process).  The public concerned, the “end-user,” can both appear as a target and a producer of information (Al Dahdah, 2019), sometimes through a community commitment but also as a human virtual or physical sensor (Goodchild, 2007).

A significant issue the cluster addresses is analyzing the extent to which these innovations drive a change in the risks’ governance with a more inclusive perspective.The cluster’s program mainly addresses issues related to:

  1. change in design methodologies (users’ centered, frugal, grass-roots innovation) at all stages from idea to prolonged usage with a challenge about the integration of learning from crisis and vulnerability experiences approaches (as recommended in risk cycle management) and long and ordinary existing practices regarding risk phenomenons;
  2. legal and public policy dimensions especially privacy regarding data capture, responsibilities’ transfer, and insurance regime implications, market regulations for public stakes (health, natural and industrial risks) and sustainable economic model;
  3. change in risks’ expertise role, in experts’ position and capacities of action confronted to the emergence of new actors and possible change in institutional and power relations.

The cluster Innovations for resilience lead research projetcs (master, phd, seniors researchers), in partnerships with different territories, foster new partenerships and provides scientific animation on these topics toward Grenoble research communities but also internationally: Kyoto University-Japan, Swansea University-Wales, Denver Colorado University (USA), the International Center for Frugal Innovation (Delft, Leiden et Rotterdam Universities, Nederland).



The Research Federation INNOVACS ("Innovation, Knowledge, Society" - Université Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, Grenoble INP) brings together 18 laboratories in the humanities, social sciences and engineering sciences. This scientific community develops interdisciplinary research on innovation through human and societal issues.
Its missions: To promote interdisciplinary research on innovation from the perspective of social and human issues to constitute new disciplinary networks around the issues of innovation.
Its actions: research project engineering, scientific coordination of the community, communication with civil society players and support for the valorization of research and transfer.


On February 20, 2023
Complément date

Noon - 1:45 PM


Saint-Martin-d'Hères - Domaine universitaire

Complément lieu




Maison de la Création et de l’Innovation
UX LAB - Room 008
339 Av. Centrale
38400 Saint-Martin-d'Hères
Tramway B & C 
- Station Gabriel Fauré

Submitted on July 7, 2023

Updated on April 5, 2024