Four billion people in the world make up the Base of the Pyramid. They earn two dollar a day, or less. They are poor. And yet, they are considered to be a potentially profitable market.
This may sound implausible. What is there to sell to people who can hardly afford to send their children to school? It needs a closer look at the reasoning behind the Base of the Pyramid (BoP) to make the whole idea become less enigmatic. Simply put, the ‘BoP philosophy' states that companies have the resources and the expertise to develop new products or services that serve the need of the poor, thus combining commercial success with poverty alleviation.
Brainstorm: Bottom of the Pyramid
On 26 November 2008 the Dutch Polymer Institute (DPI) organised a special brainstorm with the theme: ‘What could polymers mean for the Bottom of the Pyramid?' Some 250 scientists - predominantly from the field of polymer research - clustered their knowledge and creativity to conjure up tangible solutions for the developing countries. The participants searched together for innovative ideas on five basic needs: Water, Energy, Housing, Health and Environment. Here's an impression of the ambiance.
Here are the first results of the brainstorms. A jury (NGOs included) will select the ideas. After a feasibility study, DPI will invest in the best ideas and convert them into realistic DPI projects. DPI aims to achieve sustainable results to ensure that future generations also profit from the progress.
- To be continued -