Black American Frugal Innovators in a circular economy

black frugal innovations George Washington Carver

Black frugal innovator George Washington Carver at Tuskegee Institute HBCU

This article advocates that Black American frugal innovators were slaves and freed slaves. They embraced circular economy principles. Frugal innovation occurs when the rich make use of innovations developed in poor countries. There is purportedly a current rivalry between India and China in the frugal innovation arena. This research advocates that the concept of frugal innovation did not originate in Asia or India.

The practice of the rich taking the poor’s innovations is not new. In particular, Black American slaves and freed slaves developed a number of inventions in poverty conditions. It is imperative that frugal innovation research be more historically accurate. This research reduces the marginalization of contributions developed by poor innovators. This increases the more widespread embrace of circular economy principles. If a poor innovator resides in a rich country, then that innovator should not be excluded from the frugal innovator category. To sum up, Black innovators; use of frugality to innovate is pertinent.

North American, Indian and Asian poor

Arguably, Black American inventors during slavery and the reconstruction period post-slavery were indeed frugal innovators. Further, these frugal innovators also embraced circular economy principles. The current scholarship emphasizes frugal innovations originating in India and Asia. These are not the only races of people that are frugal innovators. This current notion is harmful. Perhaps much can be gained in achieving the mainstream implementation of circular economy principles if more diverse populations of frugal innovators were identified. Research on other populations that are frugal out of necessity is necessary. These populations need to be equally marketed and promoted. In addition to recognizing the frugal innovations that are being developed in rural developing countries, it is important to recognize the contributions of Black frugal innovators. Doing so may help inspire young people to follow this path. Carrying this torch from generation to generation may bolster the sustainability of the frugal innovation movement. Read more here…

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