Resources   strategy

Impact at the ‘Bottom of the Pyramid’: The role of social capital in capability development and community empowerment

Rooted in the notion of inclusive capitalism, the Bottom-of-the-Pyramid (BoP) approach argues for the simultaneous pursuit of profit and social welfare by creating markets for the poor. This idea has been both celebrated and criticized in the literature. We do neither in this paper. Instead, by leveraging insights from Amartya ...

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The ethical rational of business for the poor – integrating the concepts Bottom of the Pyramid, sustainable development, and corporate citizenship

The first United Nations Millennium Development Goal calls for a distinct reduction of worldwide poverty. It is now widely accepted that the private sector is a crucial partner in achieving this ambitious target. Building on this insight, the ‘Bottom of the Pyramid’ concept provides a framework that highlights the untapped ...

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Bottom of the Pyramid as a source of breakthrough innovations

In this paper, I identify the bottom of the pyramid (BOP) markets as a new source of radical innovation. By focusing managerial attention on creating awareness, access, affordability, and availability (4As), managers can create an exciting environment for innovation. I suggest that external constraints can be utilized to build an ...

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Serving the low-income consumer: How to tackle this mostly ignored market

Facing saturation and cutthroat competition in long-established markets, many multinational companies are seeking new markets. Yet until recently, they have largely ignored the more than 5 billion low-income consumers, thinking these consumers have no money to spend or are impossible to reach. Now several companies are disproving these perceptions. ...

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A Nano car in every driveway? How to succeed in the ultra-low-cost car market

Henry Ford’s historic promise in 1908 to “build a car for the great multitude” resulted in the production of more than 15 million Model Ts and created unprecedented mobility for consumers everywhere. Will India’s Tata Motors deliver on its equally bold promise to a new generation of consumers to bring ...

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How the world’s 5 billion low-income consumers decide what to buy

As more companies look to develop markets for growth and profits, they continue to struggle to understand their targeted consumers: How should we tailor products and services? What are our distribution strategies? Can we build brand loyalty without interpreting cultural attitudes? Lessons learned from a small Ugandan startup will help ...

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Purchasing power at the bottom of the pyramid: differences across geographic regions and income tiers

Purpose - The purpose of this article is to examine the purchasing power at the bottom of the pyramid (BOP), i.e. of low-income consumers. Design/methodology/approach - The authors analyze secondary data on income, population, and expenditure at the BOP from different countries, and apply the buying power index (BPI) methodology ...

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Commentary on Michael D. Gordon’s “Management education and the Base of the Pyramid”

This commentary asks some critical questions concerning the article “Management Education and the Base of the Pyramid” included in this special issue. Are “bottom of the pyramid” (BOP) multidisciplinary action project (MAP) students prepared to critically assess the impact of their interventions beyond a narrow definition of profit in complex ...

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Management education and the Base of the Pyramid

Doing business at the base of the pyramid is a topic of increasing interest to business practitioners and academics. Base of the pyramid business offers the promise of great economic gains for companies and the possibility of a powerful new approach to alleviate poverty. At the same time, it may ...

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A new alliance for global change

Working together, corporations and social entrepreneurs can reshape industries and solve the world’s toughest problems. ...

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From digital divide to digital dividend: What will it take?

One of the greatest challenges in higher education is to give billions of impoverished people access to it across the globe. The growth of information and communications technologies (ICTs) over the past decade holds great promise for meeting this challenge, yet the limited access that most of the world's population ...

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Commercial returns at the Base of the Pyramid

As the world is introduced to microfinance as a response to global poverty, public and private decision-makers run the risk of having their analysis of the industry overwhelmed by the field’s stirring capability to generate social value. Throughout the development of microfinance, the accounts of low-income men and women in ...

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Business basics at the Base of the Pyramid

Why should business among the very poor be different than it is anywhere else? Listen to customers, standardize processes, and don't be afraid to make a profit. ...

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Testing the limits of ‘inclusive capitalism’: A case study of the South Africa HP i-Community

In the run-up to the Millennium Development Goals of 2015, major corporations are targeted by the United Nations Global Compact and others to play an active leadership role in promoting sustainable development. Increasingly, they are encouraged to do so while pursuing profit-making business opportunities yielding social good in developing countries. ...

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The Tata Nano, the global ‘value’ segment and the implications for the traditional automotive industry regions

This paper provides a case study of the Tata Nano, a low-price car designed primarily in and for the Indian market, and its implications for the developed industrial markets. While the Nano is a classic ‘disruptive’ innovation in an Indian context, this paper argues that the car and its emulators ...

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The need for safe water as a market opportunity

There is a huge unmet need across the globe for access to safe drinking water. This problem kills millions of our brethren each year—780,000 in India alone. Diarrheal disease causes 1,600 deaths a day—more than any other. While we in the U.S. and other Western nations simply turn the handle ...

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The next 4 billion

In an informal suburb of Guadalajara, Mexico, a growing family is struggling to expand its small house. Help arrives from a major industrial company in the form of construction designs, credit, and as-needed delivery of materials, enabling rapid completion of the project at less overall cost. In rural Madhya Pradesh, ...

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Creating value for all: Strategies for doing business with the poor

The Growing Inclusive Markets Initiative responds to a need for better understanding of how the private sector can contribute to human development and to the Millennium Development Goals. Led by UNDP, the initiative was conceived in 2006 after the success of Unleashing Entrepreneurship: Making Business Work for the Poor—the 2004 ...

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Mobile 2.0: M-money for the BoP in the Philippines

This paper explores the reach and use of m-money among the bottom of the pyramid (BoP) in the Philippines using survey data from LIRNEasia’s 2008 Mobile 2.0 surveys. It looks at m-money’s potential and actual use for remittance among internal and external migrant workers and their families. The results are ...

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Designing mobile money services: Lessons from M-Pesa

M-PESA, the Kenyan mobile money service, has seen exceptional growth since its introduction in March 2007. Six million customers have registered with the service, which represents nearly half the customer base of Safaricom, the mobile operator that launched M-PESA. This is a level of penetration in the mobile base that ...

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Understanding key factors in social enterprise development of the BOP: a systems approach applied to case studies in the Philippines

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to provide a comprehensive perspective on social enterprise development, leading to enhanced understanding of the bottom of the pyramid (BOP) marketplace. Design/methodology/approach - General systems theory is applied to case studies drawn from the Philippines, enabling the authors delineate system actors and ...

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Interview: C. K. Prahalad

The renowned corporate strategist and co-author of Competing for the Future talks about his theory of co-creation, expounded in his most recent book, The Future of Competition: Co-Creating Unique Value with Customers. Interview by Des Dearlove. ...

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On the verge of something extraordinary

According to the global guru ranking, the Thinkers 50, published by The Times, C.K. Prahalad is “the most influential living business thinker in the world”. Prahalad believes that business leaders need to start thinking about their marketplace as all six billion people on the planet. Des Dearlove talked to him ...

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At the Bottom of the Pyramid: Responsible design for responsible business

Thoughtfully responding to the needs and aspirations of the four billion poor living at the margins of the global economy is both wise strategy and pressing obligation for businesses, argues Nimal Sethia. In this context, he identifies key stakeholders and posits knowledge, empathy, networking, and a value-frame as central to ...

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Book review essay: Promises and perils at the Bottom of the Pyramid: “The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty through Profits” by C. K. Prahalad

C. K. Prahalad, an extremely well-known and influential business scholar and consultant, worked for years to find a new way to solve the problem of poverty…His latest book, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, captures the results of this effort. Impressively praised by the likes of Madeline Albright ...

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Marketing technological innovation to LDCs: Lessons from one laptop per child

If the criterion for success were admiration for an innovative concept, the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project would be an unqualified triumph. The project, which sought to put laptop computers into the hands of tens of millions of children in the developing world, attracted early funding from Google, AMD, ...

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Aid is not the answer

There is an inherent paradox in the debate about poverty alleviation that escapes even the most sophisticated observers in the West. Consider the conventional thinking about China and India: They are seen as a threat to the West. The fear is not only about "exporting well paying U.S. jobs" but ...

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Overcoming institutional distance: Expansion to base-of-the-pyramid markets

The paper assesses the international expansion of developed-country multinationals to base-of-the-pyramid markets to launch new-to-the-world product innovations. The case study, of Philips Lighting, uses an international-business framework on the transferability and development of capabilities during international expansion. Institutional distance limits transferability from developed-country markets to base-of-the-pyramid markets; heterogeneity limits transferability ...

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Serving the world’s poor, profitably

Improving the lives of the billions of people at the bottom of the economic pyramid is a noble endeavour. It can also be a lucrative one. ...

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The quest for the fortune at the bottom of the pyramid: potential and challenges

Purpose - The purpose of this article is to examine the bottom of the pyramid (BOP) proposition, where private companies can both be profitable and help alleviate poverty by attending low-income consumers. Design/methodology/approach - The literature on BOP was reviewed and some key elements of the BOP approach were proposed ...

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Creating mutual value: Lessons learned from ventures serving base of the pyramid producers

The base of the pyramid (BoP) literature is grounded in the proposition of mutual value creation, an important but not yet well-tested relationship between business development and poverty alleviation. This paper begins to address this gap by assessing how business ventures serving BoP producers address local constraints and create mutual ...

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The great leap: Driving innovation from the Base of the Pyramid

Billions of poor people aspire to join the world's economy. Disruptive innovation can pave the way, helping companies combine sustainable corporate growth with social responsibility. ...

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Tensions between venture capitalists’ and business-social entrepreneurs’ goals: Will Bottom-of-the-Pyramid strategies offer a solution?

This paper examines the case of an entrepreneurial venture with a disruptive innovation in the field of medical technology. The case entrepreneur is striving for the so called double bottom line of both financial and social returns. The paper analyses the relationship between the entrepreneur who is both socially responsible ...

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The next four billion: market size and business strategy at the base of the pyramid

Four billion low-income consumers, a majority of the world’s population, constitute the base of the economic pyramid. New empirical measures of their aggregate purchasing power and their behavior as consumers suggest significant opportunities for market-based approaches to better meet their needs, increase their productivity and incomes, and empower their entry ...

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“Making Markets Work for the Poor”: An objective and an approach for governments and development agencies

Governments and development agencies’ efforts at promoting economic growth and poverty reduction have achieved mixed results. Different approaches have been tried – some have aimed at major regulatory reform and others intervened to deliver products and services directly and "get things done" – with great achievements in some countries countered ...

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Global marketing of lifesaving drugs: an analogical model

In light of the desire to bring about an increase in the global distribution of lifesaving drugs at affordable prices, the purpose of this paper is to focus on the global marketing of lifesaving drugs related to the current pandemic of HIV/AIDS. An analogical model is used to challenge companies ...

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The Slow Race: Making technology work for the poor

Citizen engagement is vital to ensure that science and technology respond to the challenges of international development. ...

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