Frugal Education

Creative, practical, and sustainable education

In a nutshell, Frugal Education is about harnessing the power of design thinking, leveraging available resources, and embracing sustainability to develop creative, practical, and sustainable education for all.

The concept takes its inspiration from the practice of Frugal Innovation: the art of reducing the complexity and cost of products and services, and their production, to meet the needs of developing countries, conscious consumerism, and sustainability. Building on this foundation, the concept incorporates aspects of design thinking, systems thinking, the circular economy, doughnut economics, and sustainable development, and applies them within an education context.

Design with an
Open Mind

Leverage Available

Build at the Speed
Of Need

On this site you’ll find a set of guiding principles, each of which has been broken down into three aspects. Whatever you’re looking to create, from in-class activity to learning space; module content to course design; innovation lab to university campus; we recommend you consider each aspect, and their relationship to one another, to help guide you in the creation of great frugal education practice.

Frugal Innovation

The art of doing more with less. Reducing the cost and complexity of products and services, and their production, to meet the needs of developing countries, conscious consumerism, and sustainability.

The terms ‘Frugal Innovation’ and ‘Frugal Engineering’ are just two of the many names that describe this DIY approach to creative problem-solving. Different cultures use different terminology, such as Jugaad in India or Bricolage in France.

Learn more about Frugal Innovation…

Design Thinking

Design thinking is a process for innovation, based on understanding user needs, challenging assumptions, redefining problems and creating solutions through an iterative cycle of design and development. The five commonly accepted phases of design thinking are: Empathise, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test.

Learn more about Design Thinking…

Doughnut Economics

Doughnut Economics is a model for how humanity can thrive in the 21st century and what that means for the future of our planet. Doughnut Economics explores the mindset and ways of thinking needed to maintain a balance for within a social foundation and ecological ceiling for life on earth.

Think of it as a compass for human prosperity in the 21st century, with the aim of meeting the needs of all people within the means of the living planet, to ensure that humanity does not collectively overshoot the planetary boundaries that protect Earth’s life-supporting systems. 

Learn more about Doughnut Economics…

Systems Thinking

Systems thinking is an approach to design and problem-solving that takes an holistic view of a problem in order to understand its wider impact within a dynamic interconnected system. It is a process that can be used to understand how things influence one another as part of a larger, more complex system.

The fundamental principle of systems thinking is that everything is interconnected. This same principle applies to the sustainability of education, as this too is a complex system, linked to many others on a global scale, such as economics, health, and climate change.

Learn more about Systems Thinking…

The Circular Economy

A circular economy is a systemic approach to economic development designed to benefit businesses, society, and the environment. In contrast to the ‘take-make-waste’ linear model, a circular economy is regenerative by design and aims to gradually decouple growth from the consumption of finite resources. 

Circular systems employ reuse, sharing, repair, refurbishment, remanufacturing, and recycling to create a closed-loop system, minimising the use of resource inputs and the creation of waste, pollution, and carbon emissions.

Learn more about The Circular Economy…

Sustainable Development
The concept of sustainable development, as described by the Brundtland Commission Report in 1987, is “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

There are four interconnected and interrelated aspects of sustainable development. These are: environment, culture, society, and the economy. The United Nations have established a set of 17 sustainable development goals for all countries to work together to address.

Learn more about Sustainable Development…

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