INNOVATING DIFFERENTLY TO CREATE MORE FRUGAL SOLUTIONS IN MOBILITY
FROM THE MINUTES 2018
Tomorrow, our survival may depend on our capacity to use dwindling resources sparingly. Is it possible, using frugal innovation, to provide better mobility experiences for more people while consuming fewer resources, both natural and financial? If the answer is yes, then achieving these goals clearly involves tapping into the collective intelligence.
LEAN, LIFESAVING DRONE DELIVERIES
In Rwanda, the country of a thousand hills, the road infrastructure is poor, and the process of delivering blood from the capital to countryside hospital eats up scarce resources and hours of precious time.
Zipline, a U.S. company, leapfrogged the entire problem. After a detailed WhatsApp request is sent to the country’s main hospital, a small, catapult-launched drone loaded with the requested blood pocket flies off. Upon reaching its pre-programmed destination, it circles a few times and drops off its payload, attached to a small parachute, before flying back to base, landing on a mattress. This is more efficient, less polluting — and much faster — than truck delivery. The service, which started in October 2016 and has been streamlined and enhanced with larger planes, is expanding into neighbouring Tanzania — and the U.S.
“LESS IS MORE” RIDES AGAIN
“Frugal mobility is not low-cost mobility: the art of doing more with less is far superior to the art of doing less with more,” says Julien Fanon. He also insists that frugal mobility is “de facto inclusive,” since better solutions that are accessible at a lower cost automatically reach more people.
"Sustainability is no longer enough: we need more mobility, with less resources, for more people." - Julien Fanon
THINKING FRUGAL BRINGS RESULTS
Frugality requires creativity. Movin’On participants formulated some economical and efficient solutions to mobility problems:
1. A very hot city, sometime in the future. How to provide inhabitants some respite from the heat?
2. A congested Tanzanian city where the inhabitants routinely spend four hours commuting to work every day.
3. A small town in an average developed country, where a retired grandfather must pick up his grandchildren at school once a week. No car, unreliable bus service, and travelling on foot with his grandchildren is not a realistic option.
1. Oasis shared mobility project Through greening and water fountains, the city creates an oasis. People travel there with shared vehicles and bicycles, coming together as a community through connecting, sharing and travelling sustainably.
2. Microfinancing mobility The city offers young entrepreneurs small loans to purchase bicycles with trailers. For a small fee, they transport commuters to the main bus line, thus drastically reducing time spent on the road.
3. Magic bus line A local, connected “super bus” travels short circular routes within the area, responding to smartphone-sent user requests. To make the system more cost-efficient, the bus — which could even be autonomous — doubles as a delivery vehicle.