January 26

NextBillion Editor

Five Series in Social Business: Announcing NextBillion’s 2018 Editorial Calendar

NextBillion was designed to provide an open forum for discussion of social business issues, and for almost 13 years, it has drawn article submissions from thousands of guest writers from around the world. This diversity of voices and viewpoints is the site’s greatest strength.

But it can also be a weakness – or, in global development parlance, a “challenge.” Why? Because in trying to keep pace with new article submissions, we editors tend to get swept up in the daily current, losing sight of the bigger picture. Guided to a large extent by a constant influx of guest posts, our coverage sometimes overlooks important topics that are worthy of attention – but that nobody has come forward to write about.

Now, we’re not complaining –we’re eternally grateful for the hard work, expertise, candor (and often courage) that goes into our guest writers’ articles. Without them (that is, without you), NextBillion would cease to exist. Our task as editors is to be responsive to our writers’ priorities, while also providing enough direction to keep the site’s coverage comprehensive and diverse.

Our 2018 editorial calendar represents one attempt to do so. Unlike our 2017 calendar, which was organized around 12 “monthly focus” series corresponding to different sectors, this year’s calendar will take a slightly different approach. It will still feature regular series which will complement our broader coverage, but:

  • Instead of aligning with a sector, these series will be tightly focused on specific issues, trends or challenges
  • Instead of corresponding to different months, the series will launch as soon as we’ve received enough posts – and they’ll last as long as guest writers keep submitting content (up to the end of the year)
  • Instead of being “set in stone” in our editorial calendar, these topics may evolve with our readers’ and writers’ interests – so if there’s little enthusiasm for one proposed topic, we’ll happily open the door to others

So, without further ado, here are the five topics of our 2018 special series:


A Survival Guide for Raising Capital

Social entrepreneurs and impact investors often seem to be speaking different languages – and their divergent priorities often lead to misunderstandings and mutual frustration. This series will explore the kinds of support entrepreneurs most need from investors – and the things investors wish more entrepreneurs understood. We’re seeking frank insights, practical guidance – even the occasional horror story (and the lessons it taught) – from both sides of the negotiating table. Click here to read the latest posts in the series.

Offline Innovation

We all love digital innovation ­– if you’re not amazed by the social impact and business opportunities that mobile tech is delivering around the world, you’re not paying attention. But there’s often a tendency to make “innovation” synonymous with “the latest app” – and this leaves out an intriguing array of advances. From water pumps to cold chain storage, from new applications for 3D printing to novel uses of robotics or drones – if you’ve come across cool emerging markets-focused innovations that aren’t based on tapping and swiping, let us know. Click here to read the latest posts in the series.

Startup Showcase

Everyone loves a success story, and we’re always happy to publish the latest from well-known enterprises and their media-savvy leaders – indeed, some of these folks are among the oldest friends of our site. But the social business media also needs to make space for fresh faces and new voices – including entrepreneurs who are just starting out. In fact, the unique challenges and opportunities facing startups can lead to valuable insights for enterprises of all stages. So if you’ve got a new social business and a story to tell, contact us – we’d love to draw attention to your work. Click here to read the latest posts in the series.

Course Correction in Social Enterprise

Sometimes big dreams don’t translate to big profits. Other times, profits outstrip social impact – and new products or strategies lead to unexpected consequences for an enterprise or its customers. When does it make sense to compromise your social mission, change your business model or strategy, sell out to a bigger company – or shift from for-profit to nonprofit (or vice versa)? Whatever the reason, we’re looking for candid stories of social enterprise transitions – and useful insights on how to execute them successfully. Click here to read the latest posts in the series.

high-tech Buzzwords: Hype or real Impact?

There’s been a lot of attention in the global development sector on a number of buzz-worthy innovations – some are futuristic (artificial intelligence), others are somewhat inscrutable (blockchain) – and some are intriguing new twists on old approaches (the sharing economy). What will be the true impact of these innovations on low-income communities in emerging markets and beyond, and how are they currently being put to use on the ground? Could they actually provide solutions to the age-old problems of poverty, or will their potential be limited by technological complexity or unexpected downsides? If you have a business model to discuss, or just an (informed) opinion to share, let us know. Click here to read the latest posts in the series.


As before, these series are intended to complement our coverage, not dominate it – so we’ll still be in the market for guest posts on the many other topics that are important to businesses serving low-income communities around the world.

Contact our editors if you’d like to contribute an article (or more than one!) to any of these series – or if you have feedback on these ideas, or others we should consider. And thank you as always for reading, and contributing to, NextBillion.


Photo credit:






Social Enterprise, Technology
Base of the Pyramid, business development, impact investing, social enterprise