When limited resources are available, creativity and imagination have better opportunities to develop. Through an emergent approach where the process is left free to unfold and rules are relaxed, new ideas transpire and innovation happens. A multiple case study in the townships of Cape Town, South Africa, will describe the evolution of three processes that brought innovations driven by active groups in their underserved communities. In particular, the unguided process approach allowed the innovations to unfold in an ecosystem characterized by frugality and by the desire to bring about social changes. The active collective participation and the social aims are the driving forces of the processes while their un-designed evolving development is the main element of innovation from the bottom. More than any information and communication technology creation.