Tag Archives: design

International Development Design Summit

Yesterday I attended the final presentation of the International Development Design Summit at MIT – the brainchild of Amy Smith, MacArthur Fellow and lecturer in MIT’s Mechanical Engineering department. This, now yearly, event brought together nearly 60 students from 20 countries around the world to work together with a team of mentors and staff to tackle a number of design problems facing NGOs and non-profits in developing countries. Continue reading

Designing for the bottom of the pyramid

A few months ago I wrote an article on the new focus on the “Bottom of the Pyramid”. The BOP as it is known is loosely defined as the 2 to 2.5 Billion people around the world who manage on less than $2 per day. The affluent tip of the pyramid in contrast consists of less than 100 million people who make over $20,000 a year.

Recently, there has been an increasing focus by organizations to address this segment with products and services tailored to their needs. The trend was popularized in C.K. Prahalad‘s book “The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid“.  I tried to extract some of the core approaches used to address this market. Here is the short version. You can see my entire article on Lokvani by clicking here.

  • Reengineering Organizational Processes:  Reduce process costs by reexamining every step. By focusing on improved delivery models, new systems are able to provide services to thousands who would otherwise not be able to afford it.
  • Building Affordable Financing Models: Match small scale loan payments to meet customer needs and cash flows. Leverage local support systems and peer pressure to encourage timely repayment.
  • Leveraging Rural Networks: Tap into existing informal networks and make them work to support the product or service.
  • Designing Local Solutions: Tailor indigenous materials and processes to provide similar functionality. Use local talent to iterate design solutions.