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Demand for affordable yet high-quality solutions is soaring. Fraunhofer and VTT, two of Europe’s most renowned research organisations, joined forces with manufacturing companies and other partners to determine what innovations would benefit society as a whole and bring the general public on board for their development. This initiative, an EU Horizon 2020 project that goes by the name of FRANCIS, aims to accomplish this end by posing two open innovation challenges.
FRANCIS’ consortium includes seven partners from six European countries. Fraunhofer and VTT will provide scientific support. The Finnish non-profit organization InnoFrugal, the Behavioural Insights Team from the United Kingdom, the French tech startup Agorize and two industrial enterprises, HELIOZ from Austria and Turkey’s BSH Home Appliances, are involved in the project.
Launched in February 2021, the first phase of the project in 2021 will establish a scientific foundation with recommendations on how to involve different participants groups in the challenges and how to encourage the shared development of ideas. The second phase, which will take place in 2022 and 2023, will run two open innovation challenges, each mentored by an industry partner, who supports the participants in detailing their ideas.
The scope of the first challenge will be the application area of culinary world and home care. Focused target groups are troubled families, minimalistic living people and elderly people living alone. For the second challenge round the application area solar disinfection will be focused. Target groups are minimalistic consumers, low-/middle-income households in (semi-)rural areas, people in refugee camps and micro-entrepreneurs. Target countries are Turkey, Germany, India, Egypt, Bangladesh and Uganda.
Lessons learned from the challenges will be incorporated into the citizen frugal innovation framework at the end of the project, so that they can serve as a guide for future frugal innovation initiatives.