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Next Generation Business Strategies for the Base of the Pyramid: New Approaches for Building Mutual Value Hardcover – November 22, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"Anyone interested in the challenges and opportunities faced by the low-income people must read this well-researched book. At a time when intellectual discourse on this important topic is urgently needed, London's and Hart's book combines a wealth of experience in the corporate setting with a deep understanding of economics. Needless to say, we are in the midst of multiple global crises threatening the well-being of all. This book is an attempt to give capitalism new strategies for responding to those crises."
--Muhammad Yunus, Head of Grameen
"This book demonstrates that the most socially useful business models to serve the Base of the Pyramid are those which are created for the market they seek to serve, incorporating appropriate green technologies and innovation-oriented strategies in venture development. Such ventures can go on to achieve the higher purpose of BoP businesses: poverty alleviation."
--Ratan Tata, CEO, Tata Industries
"More than a decade ago, C.K. Prahalad and others first opened our eyes to the huge opportunities inherent in Base of the Pyramid markets. This book captures the thinking of the last 10 years and confirms that those opportunities are greater than ever. As such, it is a fitting tribute to Prahalad and his fellow pioneers--and an essential read for anyone wishing to understand and capitalize upon the real potential of BoP marketplaces."
--Paul Polman, Chief Executive, Unilever
"A crucial and most creative re-framing of the BoP debate: The authors look at the world's poor not just as four billion more consumers, but also as a source of talented entrepreneurs--potential business partners ready to enter the formal economy to put their assets to work and lift themselves, and their countries, out of poverty."
--Hernando de Soto, Institute for Liberty and Democracy
"The Base of the Pyramid is a big breakthrough idea that risked being captured as the new conventional wisdom. This clever book by scholars and practitioners averts that by taking the deeply original insight to the next stage. A fitting tribute to C.K. Prahalad."
--Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, Former Administrator, United Nations Development Programme
"Ted London's and Stuart Hart's insightful book explores with a fresh lens the challenges facing the economies and communities of the BoP, and offers long-term solutions based on joint value-creation rather than 'fortune-seeking.' Today's businesses must engage with these communities on a deeper level, to ensure equal understanding of the culture's needs, how to educate BoP business owners, and to uncover ways to move forward--with sustainability as a top priority. This book makes an invaluable contribution to that end."
--Fisk Johnson, CEO, S.C. Johnson

About the Author

Ted London, co-editor, is a Senior Research Fellow at the William Davidson Institute (WDI) and a member of the faculty at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. At WDI, he directs the Base of the Pyramid Initiative, a program that champions innovative ways of thinking about more inclusive forms of capitalism. At the Ross School, he lectures on the opportunities and challenges inherent in developing new business models to serve BoP markets. An internationally recognized expert on the intersection of business strategy and poverty alleviation, London focuses his research on designing enterprise strategies and poverty-alleviation approaches for low-income markets, developing capabilities for new market entry, building cross-sector collaborations, and assessing the poverty-reduction outcomes of business ventures. His numerous articles, chapters, reports, and cases emphasize creating new knowledge with actionable implications. His article, “Making Better Investments at the Base of the Pyramid,” (Harvard Business Review, 2009), for example, offers a pioneering perspective on listening to the voices of the world’s poor to enhance mutual value creation. Over the past two decades, London has also directed and advised dozens of leadership teams in the corporate, non-profit, and development sectors on designing and implementing market-based strategies in low-income markets. Prior to his arrival at the University of Michigan, London served on the faculty at the University of North Carolina, where he also received his Ph.D. in strategic management. Before that, he held senior management positions in the private, non-profit, and development sectors in Africa, Asia, and the U.S.


Stuart L. Hart, co-editor, is the Samuel C. Johnson Chair in Sustainable Global Enterprise and Professor of Management at Cornell University’s Johnson School of Management. He also serves as Distinguished Fellow at the William Davidson Institute (University of Michigan) and is Founder and President of Enterprise for a Sustainable World. Hart is one of the world’s top authorities on the implications of environment and poverty for business strategy. He has published more than 70 papers and authored or edited seven books with over 5,000 Google Scholar citations in all. His article “Beyond Greening: Strategies for a Sustainable World” won the McKinsey Award for Best Article in the Harvard Business Review for 1997 and helped launch the movement for corporate sustainability. With C.K. Prahalad, Hart also wrote the path-breaking 2002 article “The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid,” which provided the first articulation of how business could profitably serve the needs of the four billion poor in the developing world. His best-selling book, Capitalism at the Crossroads, published in 2005, was selected by Cambridge University as one of the top 50 books on sustainability of all time; the third edition of the book was published in 2010.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: FT Press; 1 edition (November 22, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780137047895
  • ISBN-13: 978-0137047895
  • ASIN: 0137047894
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.8 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #556,942 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lee H Babcock on February 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover
As a mission driven international agricultural development NGO we see the traditional donor/recipient model transitioning to also become a market driven provider/consumer model. London, Hart and the other leading authors of this work provide us with a roadmap of issues related to designing new business strategies and models. London begins this work by advancing the thinking beyond simply selling to the BoP to, instead, doing business, or co-creating wealth, with the BoP. According to London "BoP businesses (ventures) are revenue-generating enterprises that specifically target the BoP demographic described as buyers, sellers, and entrepreneurs" (p. 9).

As our own NGO considers the potential of mobile money transfer to make agricultural value chains more efficient we appreciate Simanis's guidance about the challenges of market creation as opposed to the more usual strategy of market entry. A challenge of market creation, from a product design perspective, is the emergence of an economy of choice that renders an economy of scale obsolete. Whitney points out that this is exacerbated by the limited knowledge of the patterns of daily life at the BoP unlike the deep databases of demographic and market knowledge that describe developed country marketplaces. Such market creation and embedded product design is best done, as described by Hammond, by combining the resources, capacities and capabilities of both bottom up/local as well as top down/global approaches. Viswanathan guides us on the extremely intimate microlevel insights expected from a local player. Hammond believes that BoP ventures are maximized when such bottom local players are combined with the financial and technological networks and management expertise of global players.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Kudos to you both and other authors for writing a ground breaking book clarifying many early misconceptions about BOP. Your collective effort will be enormously valuable to those who are very passionate about solving key challenges for BOP. I hope that your research and book will have even more impact. I recommend your book to anyone interested in building BOP solutions. In fact, I am already planning to recommended it to organizations (Indians For Collective Action, Pallium-India-USA, ICA Social Entrepreneurship) where I chair or advise.

Though I have gained immensely from your book, I found many critical gaps based on my working experience with BOP world. I am hoping that you will review this unique perspective as it does require rather different dialog with some of the players described in the book. It is possible that some issues may require further study and I am willing to assist you in the process should it be desired. Finally, I hope that you will cover them in next revision, if you agree that they are genuine gaps. Before people starts thinking of building BOP empire, to be entrepreneurs needs to be aware additional traps not covered in this book.

I rate this book 5 star in spite of pointed gaps in my review below, as I don't see these gaps in the book but rather gaps that needs further attention. The most interesting chapter for me was Chapter 3, "Taking the Green Leap to the Base of Pyramid", where author gives a sharp contrast to two shades of green technology approaches - "Green Giant" vs "Green Sprout". Author makes an argument that is very fresh and thinks that Green Sprout approach started from BoP can eventually improve model for the ToP, as well.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sam on February 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dr. Hart and Dr. Landon began their collaboration and activities in the Base of the Economic Pyramid almost a decade ago. Streams of publications, workshops and collaborations have followed as enterprise and civil society began to address economic development for the poor. I have followed their work almost since the beginning, as they seek to define and understand how BOP markets work and most importantly how enterprise should approach these markets for the good of all.
For every success in the BOP by western organizations, there are hundreds of failures due to fundamental misunderstandings about these markets and consumers. Hart and Landon continue to clarify and report both successes and failures, and most importantly, both are in the field with colleagues, collaborators and students, seeking successful approaches for "sustainable enterprise" in these markets.
New models and experiments in enterprise structures are emerging and the collaborative approach of this book and the elaboration in the introduction on how the metaphor and activities of the BOP have evolved are fascinating. The undue criticism of their early metaphors of this important market demographic has now been set aside and the various authors have captured in this book, the transformational work that is taking place throughout the world. Bravo!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Our society is filled with solutions, however not all solutions are enjoyed universally. The most interesting part of the book is the idea of market/society co-creation. For long some of us think that the ToP are forgetting the BoP, it turns out, the ways in which they could interact together was not well established, yet.

This book provides some of it.

I hope you could learn more than i do from it.

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