Serbia has potential for Frugal innovation


In previous post I tried to bring you closer to Frugal innovation and its examples and showed you what impact they have on world most influential markets.


In this post, I`ll try to connect the core of Frugal innovation with Serbia and its market.
To recollect most crucial elements of Frugal innovation I`ll quote my previous post:

Key elements of Frugal innovation:

  1. Outsource all non-core activities
  2. Use technology in imaginative way
  3. Apply mass production techniques in unexpected areas

Serbia in these days is little known by its outsourcing potential, but in fact respected number of Europe`s and North America`s companies choose to outsource their business to Serbia.

Why is that you wonder?
It`s pretty simple: High quality work force for low wages.

Serbia`s standpoint by elements:

1.Outsource all non-core activities

Serbia is ideal ground for Frugal innovations because of large number of capable experts that can solve high level system problems by developing solutions that are cheap, practical, efficient and accessible. There is no longer need for Asia, there is great outsourcing potential with far better infrastructure in the heart of the Balkans and in the Europe itself.

Serbia had one of the toughest educations systems in the Europe that mustered legions of bright and resourceful work force. As Serbia passed through some of the toughest times in its history with recent wars and economical transition, many of those bright people fled all over world to become best and most respected workers in their companies. Many of them stayed behind to try to rebuild what was left.
Serbian intellectual elite is represented with 11% of Serbia`s population overall.  Downside is 22% of overall unemployment (but great for outsourcing). Currently there is 22 000 young students that are seeking job, waiting for the chance to put to use their hard earned knowledge and bring prosper to their employers. In various sectors: banking, ICT, Production and Engineering, smart companies are investing with the support of Serbian government. That fact was recognized by some of most influential companies in the world, that chose to invest in this untapped source of profit. Boy, they were right!

Belgrade, the capital, has been awarded as the City of the Future for Southern Europe 2007 by the fDi Magazine.

  • Selection criteria – economic potential, cost effectiveness, human resources, IT and telecommunications, transport, quality of life, and FDI promotion.

In 2008 the municipality of Indjija was ranked among the Top 25 Most Attractive locations for foreign direct investment in Europe by the fDi Magazine.

“Serbia is forecast to make the largest improvement in the business environment in the region of Eastern Europe between 2009 and 2013. Out of 16 countries included in the research, Serbia will be leading the region in terms of business reforms by a wide margin”.

PricewaterhouseCoopers ranked Serbia as the 3rd most attractive manufacturing and 7th most attractive services FDI destination among emerging economies.

Ernst & Young recorded nearly 150 inward investment projects in Serbia in 2007, 2008 and 2009 – the 2nd best performance in the South East Europe region.
So as fertile ground to super quality outsourcing, Serbia gets + for good foundation for Frugal innovation. Low cost, high quality workforce is perfect ground for Frugal enterprise.


2.Use technology in imaginative ways

Precisely that potential of bright and resourceful citizens, gives Serbia unique ability to generate low cost, but brilliant products and services.

Confronting limited resources, bad economic state, and tough legal restrictions Serbian experts are largely used to work with limited resources, bad conditions and to seek direct and cost-efficient ways to indulge market needs. Interesting fact is that universities and institutes apply the least patent applications, especially business related. So, one of the recent great initiatives is combining technology potential of the academic research and their spin-offs to industry leaders investors and business intelligence. Using DataStation platform as an infrastructure in future will allow more intimate connection between university and industry, and hopefully spawning large amount of useful and efficient ideas, products and services for start-ups. This way technology that is developed, can be really used and commercialized.

Downside is definitively embarrassing outcome of IP protection rights for the patents and inventions. Serbia has 299 patented products and services this year from several thousand of registered inventors. That is compared to 14.435 patents from Germany just a fragment. Luckily, there are ongoing initiatives in strong innovation entities within Serbia that are constantly working on spreading the knowledge and help with IP rights protection and constant encouragement of creativity and innovation overall. Innovation landscape is changing for sure.

Serbia`s innovators are well known winners of many worldwide competitions. For example, they collected and won 6 gold medals and 3 silver ones on the worlds most prestigious fair of science and innovations based in Moscow, called “Archimedes” . There is quality on the work here.


Best results are in medicine, pharmacy and industrial machines, construction projects.

Hazelnut chopper – Former workers in construction of aircraft parts from Utva in cooperation with Milan Grubanov from Pančevo, constructed unique chopper that can chop and classify over 100 kilograms of hazelnuts per hour. This automated machine could make major difference in in region as one of the best competency advantage from the rest of the competition. (source:

Strawberry Tree – Several students of Serbia led by Miloš Milisavljević won the European Commission competition of renewable sources of energy with their project in the category of “Cuts in Public spending”.  From 309 projects, as youngest participants their work on Public solar light mobile recharger took the throne by right. They call it “Strawberry Tree”.  (source: )

Fuel-efficient engines for cars – Professor dr Vujo Gordić, graduated engineer from Užice, won the International festival of innovation, knowledge and creativity “Tesla Fest 2008”. Gordić invented engine that for same amount of energy spent creates 12,68 times greater torque than traditional internal combustion engines. That means that for the same amount of fuel, car that is using his engine can travel 10 times greater distance than standard SUS engine car.

3. Apply mass production techniques in unexpected areas

Strong IT companies and software engineers lead the way for this section. Major productivity, efficiency and quality of developed solutions in ICT sector is prime jewel in the crown of Serbia`s market. Combining best practice techniques from industry and PM methodologies with local mentality and resourcefulness leads IT companies to thrive.



DataStation – Cloud based innovation management software platform.

Using Cloud and SaaS model from its birth 2005, and applying custom techniques and methodologies in combination with world best practices to uncover one of the unique and best software solutions for innovation management in the world. Young, unique and diverse IT company with special mission – to push the boundaries of software engineering beyond to excellence with the touch of peculiarity.

DataStation Logo

Engage outsourcing potential, low cost high quality work force and strong ICT.

Scratch the surface, there may be a diamond underneath. 

10 tips of how to deliver a great presentation


Hello,I thank my dear wife Bojana on giving me the ultimate test before i went to the public with simple question:

“Hey dear Husband (this is my version),

What are you exactly doing? What is your job? You see, my friends, family and mother are asking me and i really don`t know what to tell them.”

I was overjoyed to finally explain myself…Which i did, but two hours later i found that she was completely lost to me. That was i valuable lesson, and very important to me. From that day i constantly worked on my presentation skills, never to see that look on someone`s face like that day.

So please read what i have to say about my experiences.

After some serious time of extensive education about Innovation and Innovation management i finally got the chance to put my developed knowledge to some good use beyond office walls (beside my wife).

I was involved in IT Open Days 2011 seminar in Belgrade as a presenter on the subject of :”Innovation management in Cloud Computing”.

At first i was thrilled that i finally got the opportunity to pass the word to my fellow people and young students from Computer faculty, who btw are brilliant, but then i was forced to focus on the message i was inclined to serve them.

Innovation is not topic overly popular in Serbia, and because of that people are vaguely familiar with the term and i was at the hotspot.

My choice was to perform this presentation with all the necessary informations related to the subject and utterly bore them to death, or to use some creativity and to make thing different and interesting.

Naturally, i picked creativity. 🙂


1. CHOOSE ALTERNATIVE – I sliced through conventional creation of PPT presentations and went for something little less known:

Note: this gave me focus where i wanted to and it was very easy to create and completely lovable by students.

2. RECOGNIZE THE AUDIENCE – I picked not to talk in academic sophisticated manner, but to tune my vocabulary to their own age.

Note: Simple memory from my school days told me that was the right way to go.

3. “BATTLE CRY” – I focused “Battle cry” of my presentation to innovation and possibilities of managing it, not to Cloud computing about which they were hearing all day.

Note: Innovation was the term that i had to put light on, Cloud was not. I have chosen that way after reading the Agenda of the seminar and realizing that there were 5 or so presentation dealing with Cloud computing.

4. EXAMPLES, PICTURES, VISUALIZATION – I choose interesting bulk of good recognized examples to which i hoped they can relate to and better understand the topic.

Note: It was complete success. Latin words, history, definitions…all was irrelevant, examples rolled.

5. HUMOR CONNECTION – I put humor to good use at the beginning of the presentation and personalized the subject from the start. That way they got to listening me really, and we connected.

Note: I leveraged my charisma and humor to engrave my words to their minds. Try it.

6. SPACE FOR QUESTIONS – I gave those kids enough room to form up and to deliver questions, and those questions are best feedback of what was wrong and what was good about your presentation.

Note: Those questions are guiding points for your next presentation. Ultimate feedback.


7. DANGERS? – I gave them advices. I hate giving advices, but these were precise and natural. I told them where are the dangers and what to nurture in themselves in order to succeed.

Note: The battle cry of the seminar was “Unlock your potential”. I tied idea management and creativity to this battle cry and gave it another, deeper meaning.

8. FEEL THE BIT, CONTROL IT – Keep eye contact with your audience, don`t make gestures, “aa`s” and stutter, keep your mind and body in balance. Talk with your body, but only in context of the words flow and message you are delivering. If it is too heavy and unnatural…go to number 9.

9. STAY HUMAN – You are not a machine, and they know it, so stop trying to be one. They can sense your unease, this can ruin all. You can leverage some power from uncertainty if you joke on it and make it genuinely sympathetic.

Note: I WAS nervous at the start…As soon as i uttered the first words and they were fuzzy, i got really afraid that this will be a disastrous presentation. But then, i took pause…gathered myself, and as soon as i got them laughing i relaxed completely.

10. MESSAGE IS THE POINT – Remember that you are here to deliver THE message. You are indeed selling yourself alongside the story that will be remembered only if you hit the spot with overall performance. Keep it simple, interesting, and funny. Tell the story.

Note: Don`t focus just on the message, focus on the people who are listening. Be a great story teller.

I hope this helped a bit.


Innovation Post