Santa Clara University

Frugal Innovation Lab



ENGR 336 Engineering for the Developing World

This course presents a framework of engineering design and management techniques that are appropriate for developing markets. It introduces the eight core competencies of frugal innovation through a variety of case studies, which range from alternative energy and low cost diagnostics to mobile applications and micro entrepreneurship. The course also examines the social benefits that design, manufacturing, and business innovation can provide to address various challenges in the developing world.

ENGR 338 Mobile Applications and Instrumentation for Emerging Markets

The mobile revolution is changing the lives of people across the globe, from Wall Street to Main Street to rural villages. This course will provide an overview of the technological innovation, including applications and instrumentation, which the mobile revolution is spawning, particularly in underserved communities globally. It will feature guest speakers from technology companies involved in Mobile R&D, look at market and beneficiary needs, and discuss how to innovate products and services for these customers and how to tackle complex life problems with simple technologies, applications, and business models, using real-life case studies.

ENGR 341 Innovation, Design and Spirituality

This course investigates the social, human, creative and ethical dimensions of frugal innovation for graduate engineering students. It analyzes these within the broader context of engineering, innovation, design, spirituality and vocational discernment. Frugal innovation is a creative engineering design process to address the basic human needs of people in poor communities worldwide. This course presents the “what” and the “how” of frugal innovation, but emphasizes the “why” and the “who.” Why should engineers and technology creation address the needs of economically marginalized communities? And, who are the kinds of engineers that are able to create frugal innovation strategies? By framing innovation and design in terms of moral purpose and spiritual meaning, students will critically examine their leadership skills and deepen their self-knowledge.

ENGR 340 Clean Energy for the Developing World

Energy availability in the developing world is key to improving societal education, health, and standard of living. What are the opportunities and constraints of providing energy to these underserved populations? To uncover issues of energy generation, transmission and storage, students will conduct engineering assessments of clean-energy ventures from SCUs Global Social Benefit Incubator (GSBI). For these case studies (ranging from bioenergy to micro-solar to cooking stove efficiency), students will develop engineering calculations to evaluate the technical basis of the cases. Students will also conduct a life cycle assessment, evaluating energy, mining, waste, water, air and other impacts.

Technology, Innovation & Public Health (PHSC120)

This course investigates how technology and innovation can foster public health goals, particularly in underserved communities globally. Students will also examine development strategies and market-based mechanisms such as social entrepreneurship as channels for improving the health of communities and populations.

Other engineering courses related to the Frugal Innovation Lab’s mission:


ELEN 280 Introduction to Alternative Energy Systems
COEN 288 Software Ethics
ENGR 273 Sustainable Energy and Ethics
ENGR 303 Gender and Engineering


ENGR 261 Nanotechnology and Society
ENGR 302 Managing in the Multicultural Environment
ENGR 303 Gender and Engineering
ENGR 332 Forms of Nature


ELEN 288/COEN 282 Energy Management Systems
ENGR 304 Building Global Teams
ENGR 334 Energy, Climate Change and Social Justice
ENGR 338 Mobile Applications for Emerging Markets

ENGR 303 Gender and Engineering


ENGR 310 Engineering Ethics

ENGR 303 Gender and Engineering

Frugal Innovation Lab |  Bannan Labs Building 404
500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95053
1-408-554-2334 |