Lauren Abendschein

Fewer Celebrities, More BOP at Davos

DavosThe news from the start of the World Economic Forum this year is full of stories from climate change to hedge funds to a dearth of celebrities- interspersed with the occasional obligatory discussion of poverty. Yet hints that the world’s economic and political powerhouses are starting to take the BOP markets seriously have crept in.

Of particular interest is an interview with Hector Ruiz, CEO of AMD, posted on the World Economic Forum website. Ruiz has excellent insights on how the alignment of social and business goals produce value. When asked about prospects for global growth, he pointed out the potential of reaching underserved markets:

First, we must understand that the way to unleash growth in high-growth markets is to focus on precisely how people and organizations in those markets think about and use technology?There are places in Africa, for example, where the power of a computer is limited by the viability of the local electrical grid. So we need to understand these differences and develop new devices and new business models tailored to a variety of different needs, tastes, economic conditions and cultures.

With bloggers abound at the event there is plenty of room to explore some of the less mainstream themes. Richard Sambrook from BBC posted today on ?the business of poverty? that organizations like Kickstart and the Barefoot College have made a showing at Davos. Though much of the recognition of emerging markets has featured ICT, these organizations were recognized for their appropriate technology contributions. Apparently there was further conversation about Silicon Valley supporting these development techniques–perhaps we?ll start seeing tech entrepreneurs on InnoCentive?

Many of the BOP-oriented organizations and entrepreneurs at Davos are splitting their time in nearby Zurich where the annual Schwab Social Entrepreneurs? Summit is being held. Jonathan Greenblatt at World Changing is continuing to give colorful coverage of the Summit and its social entrepreneurs such as Wu Qing. The dynamic former Chinese politician also made an appearance responding to a question on the World Economic Forum’s ?Bridge Videos? site where anyone can post a question to the Forum’s participants.