Most Important Questions for Entrepreneurs at the Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP)
What are the questions which entrepreneurs and practitioners at the base of the pyramid should be asking when developing products and services. Tayo suggest at Next Billions:
• Is BOP MNC neocolonialism all over again? Will MNCs behave differently in this space than they have in the past? Can power be successfully decentralized and distributed?
• Must there be a trade-off between doing well and “doing good”? How close does BOP come to closing that gap?
• What skill sets are critically needed in BOP business development? Consumer insight? Operations management? Investment management?
In addition to these questions:
• How can I share my experiences (good and bad with other entrepreneurs)?
• How can I scale the effective aspects of my business? Franchising? Sales agent model?
Probably also these issues:
• How can I simplify products or services? How can I miniturize products or services for affordability?
Peter White, Director of Global Sustainability at Procter & Gamble, adds this note of strategic clarification for BOP products:
“It’s not just about making consumer products cheaper,” he says. “You’ve got to come up with products that actually meet the specific needs at the bottom of the pyramid. How do you design products that people need? You have to actually go and find out, and so we send researchers to find out how people live – how they do their washing, their cleaning (and) what are their problems.”
Of course BOP entrepreneurs should study their market via ethnography and listening interviews. Some of these important questions are handled in “Power of Unreasonable People” and others are handled in “The Blue Sweater” and still others in “Out of Poverty” If you are in the digital space learning about mass customization (“the new age of innovation” and “bottom of the pyramid”) as well as “the world is flat” by tom friedman (what individuals imagine matter, making individuals ability to horizontalize for collaboration and productivity gains).
I’m sure I’ve missed some of the most important questions:
• feel free to suggest other questions in the comments section
• check out my post on social entrepreneurship trends and
• 30 second book reviews which provides much more insight.