Scott Anderson

Honoring November’s ‘NextBees’ : Buzz-worthy tales of bucking culture, reaching markets

Welcome to the second edition of the “NextBees,” our monthly awards recognizing the posts with the most – the most reads, the most comments and/or the most shares on social media – that is. (By the way I’m still looking for suggestions on what call these monthly accolades.)

The two most-read posts that also elicited the most reactions and shares on NextBillion in November, essentially, were all about bucking corporate culture.

The most-read post last month(With Video) Financial Inclusion that Serves Savers, by Heather Esper, details how CGAP partnered with to develop a new way to entice customers with incomes in the $8-12 a day range to open savings accounts with Mexican banking giant, Bacomer. For these would-be customers, there’s an inherent distrust of banks and hidden fees, turning instead to “tendas,” or small groups of trusted friends and/or family members, to pool their money. Inside Bancomer, which generally tailors products to upper- and middle-income customers, the process for gauging the needs of the low-income customer is unfamiliar territory, so too is the notion of creating a profitable business that serves the financial needs of this income group. The video chronicles both the data collection process, which included dozens of very in-depth interviews (instead of thousands of surveyed customers), and the creation of two products, a new form of savings account and another that leverages tenda organizers. Bancomer has agreed to pilot both projects.

The second most read/most responded to post on NB this month was by Cheryl Heller, NexThought Monday: Unlocking Intrapreneurship with Language, takes a sledgehammer to jargon that can imprison not only new ideas, but action. She takes a look at the example of Medtronic, which is piloting affordable diagnosis and pacemakers for rural Indians, and how its culture has propelled “intrapreneurship.”

“At $16 billion, Medtronic has the right combination of size, knowledge, category depth, distribution and motivation. Was an intrapreneur involved? For sure. Maybe even a whole company of them. Do we imagine that at Medtronic, people have as many words for innovation as the Inuits have for snow? Is it likely that they consider entrepreneurial thinking ‘above and beyond’ what’s expected?”

Speaking of Intraprenuers, I’d be remiss not to mention that Ashoka Changemakers will be hosting a Live Social Intrepreneurship Google Hangout, from 10-11 a.m. Eastern time Thursday (Dec. 13). The event is in concert with the League of Social Intrapreneurs online competition, which is identifying the innovators within large corporations who are working hard to align their employer’s business interest with addressing a social need. The forum will hear from two contest entrants: Amy Chen, director of sales at PepsiCo; and Graham Simpson, Michelle Wobker, and Dwight Walker, a team of scientists at GlaxoSmithKline.

Other Most Read Posts for November

How Mahindra’s ‘Spark the Rise’ is Igniting Impact by Sriram Gutta

NexThought Monday: Training Half a Billion People for Good Jobs: How governments and Vocational Efforts are Leaving Out the BOP, How to Reform Them for Inclusion, by Shashwat Mody

Innovative Banking Strategies for the BoP in India: Exploring ‘No Frills Accounts’ and the Business Correspondent Model by Tobin Fulton

Hidden Gem

Here’s a post that you might have missed, but I think is worth your time:

Lessons in Growth From Vindhya’s En-ABLED Staff: 90% of the BPO company’s workers are physically disabled by Jerry Brady

? Related: The Best of October on NB

corporate social responsibility, financial inclusion