The Base of the Pyramid Protocol is a project run by Cornell University with a continued investigation into methodologies for co-creating value with Multinational Companies and local communities. The Protocol is very hands on and describes a process of engagement from A to Z. Some business people or consultants in a hurry might find it a bit time consuming and too in depth – but this is arguably where you establish the deep insight and deep relations to ensure a sustainable business. This is how the team describe it themselves:
The BoP Protocol™ is a pioneering business incubation process that enables multinational corporations (MNCs) to generate new business opportunities at the Base of the Pyramid. Based on a participatory philosophy, the BoP Protocol™ is a model for business co-creation that marries MNCs’ resources, technologies and best practices with those of the community.
[This text is from the BoP-Protocol website]
Becoming Native to Place
By forging lasting partnerships between the MNC and income-poor communities otherwise rich in local knowledge and social capital, the BoP Protocol™ ensures that business development is both sustainable and equitable. The Protocol uses a unique set of business tools and practices adapted from social anthropology and Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) to build what we call an MNC’s “native capability”. This native capability consists of the ability to:
- Engage in deep listening and mutual dialogue with income-poor communities.
- Co-discover and co-create new business opportunities and business models embedded in the local cultural infrastructure.
- Co-design and launch BoP businesses that generate mutual value for all partners.
It is our belief that sustainable, successful businesses at the Base of the Pyramid will emerge only through such a process of mutual partnership and co-creation.