COVID-19 has been the most important pandemic that hit the world in the last century. An overwhelming number of initiatives aimed to save lives and protect humanity came out especially at the beginning of the health crisis, following an outside the box approach to address relevant R&D problems. Digital makers, not surprisingly, have been part of the game. Being masters in using digital technologies for customized products, and being strategically fitted to cope with the imperative to be fast, many of the players on the front line to fight the pandemic have looked at them as the ‘providers next to the door’ able to offer fast solutions to critical problems. Based on these premises and adopting frugal innovation as theoretical base, the aim of the study is to analyze how digital makers have taken part in R&D processes to find solutions to the problems created by an exogenous and unexpected sanitary problem. Through an in-depth case study, we provide insights on if and how frugal approach to innovation is adapt to cope with the extraordinary pressure coming from event like the COVID-19. The results of the study highlight the power of connecting frugal innovation principles, agile mindset of makers and open innovation strategies in providing effective solutions on a local scale and eventually exploit their potential global impact. Furthermore, we highlight implications and pathways for future researches.
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