“The world of today has problems which cannot be solved by thinking the way we thought when we created them”
These words of wisdom from Einstein provide the outset for my article in the online magazine “International Development” where I introduce the concept of Base of the Pyramid to an audience primarily from the development sector, and explore the potential of a closer collaboration between business and development through the mindset and methodologies of innovation.
Download the article International Development 13 – Louise Koch, or read it online (p.23) in International Development HERE:
Reserve the dates of 8-10 of June 2009 to participate in the Joint Actions on Climate Change Conference in the city of Aalborg in Denmark.
The conference is a joint endeavour bringing together five conferences in the field: European Roundtable for Sustainable Consumption and Production, The Greening of Industry Network; SCORE!; Nordic Life Cycle Association, and Euro Sustainability. After 15 years of separate growth, it is now time to join forces to bring action and consensus on solutions.
Together with PhD student Jacob Ravn from Aalborg University, I am organizing a research workshop as well as a seminar for practitioners from different sectors to explore:
The potential and pitfalls of the Base of the Pyramid Strategy to bring innovative and environmentally sustainable solutions to developing countries. Continue reading
What happens when you link CSR in a company to the innovation process and core strategy of a company? Hopefully, new sustainable innovations and more growth to the company.
The Danish Centre for CSR (CenSa) at the Danish Commerce and Companies Agency (DCCA) is running the project on CSR-Driven Innovation in cooperation with the Nordic Innovation Centre and Nordic partners from different universities. The project aims at supporting the business potential among Nordic small and medium-sized enterprises by combining the fields of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), design, innovation and growth.
The outcome of the project so far has been a report with case-studies on a range of Nordic companies using CSR as a core strategy. The report outlines a framework for different typologies of CSR-driven companies, with different ways of combinging social impact and profit as either means or goal. This is how it looks:
This framework is also useful when considering different strategies and visions for engaging in business with BoP. The report includes BoP as one of the ways to do CSR-driven innovation.
You can download the full report, plus a thorough literature review on CSR-driven innovation at the project site HERE
What is the role of privat sector in international development? What has it been over time, and how is it changing with BoP activities?
What are the implications of using terms as customers, consumers, users, bop’s, people, citizens, and more, when talking about people in developing countries, now the target of attention from the concept of Base of the Pyramid?
What would a Scandinavian model of BoP look like?
Can and should we develop some kind of quality standards or ethical guidelines for companies engaging in BoP activities?
Theese were some of the questions on the table at a research workshop at the SPIRE research centre of Participatory Innovation at University of Southern Denmark, which I organized recently. The call of the workshop was:
People Centred Innovation in Developing Countries
– exploring the intersections of participatory innovation
and participatory development Continue reading
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. Continue reading
Growing Inclusive Markets – 50 cases
The initiative from UN about Growing Inclusive Markets have launched a report with a strategic matrix of barriers and solutions for doing Base of the Pyramid Innovation. The matrix is based on the analysis of 50 cases from around the world. They are briefly mentioned in the report. If you go to the website, you can search among the cases based on different criteria such as region or business area, and you get a fuller description of the case. Good stuff for insight and inspiration!
Find it here: www.growinginclusivemarkets.org
Since the turn of the century there has been an increased focus on the role and the opportunities of the private sector in creating not only economical but also social and environmental development in developing countries. Simultaneously, within business and amongst consumers, there is a growing focus on the social responsibility and ethics of business. It seems, that the business of business is not only business anymore.
The concept of “Base of the Pyramid” (BoP) was coined by professor C.K. Prahalad with the book “The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid” in 2002. Another important figure in this field is Stuart Hart from Cornell University, who has been a co-thinker together with Prahalad, and amongst other publications wrote “Capitalism at the Crossroads”, where he draws a strategic framework for business go “go beyond green” and engage directly in corporate social innovation to do good and do well.
The basic idea for the cross-over between business and development is, that business can provide products and services that are very much needed among poor people in both urban and rural areas, and that this should be done by building business models that includes the people not only as consumers, but also as producers and employees, thereby giving them the income to buy the products and services they need, and to create a life of well being. Companies can in this way create new markets and at the same time alleviate poverty and other pressing problems. This is what the United Nations has termed development through creating inclusive markets.