Scott Anderson

NextThought Monday: Gold Stars, the Best of December (and Best Ideas of 2010) on NextBillion

NextBillion ended 2010 by picking our writers’ and editors’ brains on what really made a difference – the best ideas if you will – this year.

The series had just one criterion: Be it a fledgling concept or market-ready innovation, each idea was required to have the strong potential (if not the proven results) for advancing the BoP mission. The series began Dec. 24 and wrapped up on Dec. 31, and can be found via the tag, Best Ideas 2010. We’ll post the entire series from the home page later in the week.

Not to overstate things, but to me, December’s lineup of the top five most-popular posts seemed to reflect the step forward for development through enterprise on numerous fronts. Healthcare, transportation, agriculture and, literally, the “Next Generation” in developing businesses that cater to the poor were all represented with strong explanatory posts.

Certainly, that’s the case for the most-read post of December, Why Hybrid Value Chains Matter. Authored by Chloe Feinberg, who joined Ashoka in 2009 and is part of the Full Economic Citizenship Healthcare for All team. Chloe set the table on defining HVCs and explaining that their value goes beyond market opportunities to market creation.

Rounding out the top 5 posts of December based on readership were:

A LIVE Chat with Ted London and YOU – By Scott Anderson. Frankly, the credit for this post’s strong readership goes to Ted London, co-editor of the book Next Generation Business Strategies for the Base of the Pyramid. London, a Senior Fellow at the William Davidson Institute and University of Michigan Professor; and Stuart Hart, Chair in Sustainable Global Enterprise and Professor of Management at Cornell University’s Johnson School of Management, co-edited the book. Ted graciously accepted the invitation to join the first NextBillion live chat, which you may replay here. Based on the success of this event, we’re planning to do several more live chats this year.

Exits for Impact Investment: The Key to Becoming Mainstream by Oscar Abello. Although financial exits from impact investments remain exceedingly rare, Oscar wrote about a changing atmosphere, in part, precipitated by the release of a new report by JP Morgan. The report, which as Oscar notes, “gives partial yet compelling estimates of impact investment potential at the BoP: potential profits in the next ten years could range from $183 billion to $667 billion; while invested capital could range from $400 billion to nearly $1 trillion.”

Re-thinking Accessibility: Designing a Car for Africa by Heather Fleming. Heather interviewed Joel Jackson of Mobius Motors, an African car company in startup mode. Mobius is developing the first car targeting African consumers. Like fellow carmaker startup, Tesla Motors, Mobius sees an opportunity to sell to a large group of mostly rural customers under-served by existing carmakers.

How are Hybrid Value Chains Different from CSR, BoP, Inclusive Business? by Stephanie Schmidt. Part two in Ashoka’s series on HVCs delves even deeper into the differences between and among these models, without quibbling over terms.

Rural Marketing Congress India 2010: Reaching the 700 Million by first-time NextBillion contributor Karthik Chandrasekar provided an excellent overview of the conference, which brought together panelists and delegates from a wide variety of agriculturally focused companies, all focused on serving the estimated 700 million largely under-served Indian rural market.

If you haven’t checked them out already, each of these posts, as well as the Best Ideas Series, deserves read – or a second look.

Education, Technology, Transportation
Base of the Pyramid, innovation, startups