Despite the potential of BoP business models, ensuring success in implementation has proven to be challenging. Stuart L. Hart and Fernando Casado Caneque decided to bring together practitioners and thought leaders of the BoP Global Network to write the book Base of the Pyramid 3.0: Sustainable Development through Innovation and Entrepreneurship to discuss these challenges and possible solutions. We asked Fernando to write an introduction.
The accessibility of low-cost technologies and open source innovation, complemented with the increasing role of the share and open economy trends have a huge potential to improve business modelings with a BoP focus. We are at the beginning of a new era of collaborative economics and access to data and knowledge are the spearheads of a new generation of inclusive business with tremendous impact potential.
Therefore, although we are still in the midst of developing new skills, capabilities and organizational routines necessary to execute BoP 2.0, new challenges have been revealed that make it important to press forward toward a BoP 3.0.
‘Fortune at the BoP’
If the BoP 1.0 model can be summarized as “finding a fortune at the BoP,” the BoP 2.0 approach stressed the importance of co-creating products and compelling value propositions with underserved communities, innovating from the bottom-up, leapfrogging to environmentally sustainable technology and creating a dedicated set of metrics and timelines suited to the unique features of the underserved space.
However, given the new trends and broad access to knowledge generation platforms available, as well as the open source and share economic models, we believe its time to promote the BoP 3.0 transition, from co-creation to open innovation, drawing on the “wisdom of the crowd” to spawn previously unimagined solutions. Indeed, participatory, grassroots innovations may take BoP business to a whole new level in the years ahead.
BoP 3.0 in this sense requires a conceptual shift, passing from standalone initiatives to innovation ecosystems, from extended distribution approaches to innovation for the last mile, from NGO engagement to cross-sector partnership networks and from poverty alleviation to sustainable development frameworks.
The green-leap approach has generated clean technologies that hold the key to solving many of the world’s global environmental and social challenges and the base of the pyramid is an ideal place to focus on such opportunities.
Furthermore, it has almost become a duty of all practitioners to create enabling ecosystems that support innovation and entrepreneurship engaging all relevant stakeholders generating value at the BoP. Innovation platforms and knowledge generation networks are increasing in presence and magnitude and thus, the concept of partnership building, how we partner and with who we partner needs to go also through radical change.
We are moving from partnership-building platforms based in contracts and engaging ONGs in certain processes of project implementation to new models of participatory governance. We are therefore foreseeing structures more horizontal where the “private and public” concept get diluted to more hybrid governance structures, based on triple bottom line values and goals.
This is the main reason behind the new book “BoP 3.0: Sustainable Development through Innovation and Entrepreneurship”. Its ultimate goal is to move the inclusive business agenda forward and enhance the transformation of the entire socio-economic system, emphasizing the urgent need for scalable solutions, rather than specific pilot projects that have achieved only a certain level of impact through local implementation.
Hope you join us creating the needed changes to generate this profound social transformation of the ecosystem, moving beyond just new business models or individual products that are only partially green or socially responsible.