Tag Archives: prahalad

Major Indian political parties quote Social Entrepreneurial thinkers

Mainstream politics in India is picking up on themes of key social entrepreneurial thinkers as the two major parties prepare for elections.

In an interesting observation on the Acumen Fund Blog the blogger, Uma Hemachandran, points out that with the unexpected upset of the BJP in the last elections, in part due to inadequate attention to those struggling at the bottom, the party is now taking a page, quite literally, out of CK Prahalad’s “Bottom of the Pyramid“.

She references a speech by BJP’s LK Advani, in June 2008 where he says, “In this context, I must say that I am highly impressed by C.K. Prahlad’s theory about “The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid”. I agree with his approach to poverty alleviation, which states that “if we stop seeing the poor as victims or as a burden and start recognizing them as resilient and creative entrepreneurs and value-conscious consumers, a whole new world of opportunities will open up.”

Meanwhile the Congress party realizing how it got into power has also been quoting populist thinkers. When presenting the 2007-2008 budget last year, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram quoted Dr. Yunus to justify their actions by saying, “As Dr. Muhammad Yunus, the Nobel laureate, said, “Faster growth rate is essential for faster reduction in poverty. There is no other trick to it.”

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.