Rob Katz

Morning Roundup: $9/day, HBR Article, Design and the BoP

Last week’s paradox has persevered into this week. More RSS feeds – plus some handy Google News and Google Blog alert feeds – means there’s more BoP stuff out there than I can do justice to individually. As such, here’s today’s roundup:

SKS Microfinance founder/CEO Vikram Akula has a new article out in the Harvard Business Review, Business Basics at the Base of the Pyramid. In the article, Akula offers a three-part prescription for success at the BoP:

Adopt a profit-oriented approach in order to access commercial capital; boost capacity by standardizing products, training, and other processes; and use the latest technology to reduce costs and limit errors.

Only the abstract is available for free, but this article is worth the $6.50 for a PDF copy.Sriram Thodla is a dual-degree student at the Institute of Design // Indian Illinois Institute of Technology. When not studying for his Masters in Design or MBA, he writes a great blog appropriately titled Musings About Innovation and Design. A recent post argues that design FOR the base of the pyramid is ’annoyingly paternalistic.’ He suggests design BY the BoP. I suggest design WITH the BoP. Check it out.

Ryan Gunderson at Riches for Good complains that, at $9 per day, the BoP cutoff is too high. I respond.

NextBillion ally PSD Blog points to an Ethical Corporation article (Social Innovation: Giving the Majority a Stake) that basically reviews base of the pyramid opportunities in Latin America. If you’ve been watching the BoP space for a while, this is old news (Cemex! Prodem! P&G!) combined with fresher news (the Innovest Opportunities for the Majority Index, for instance). Either way, good to see a mainstream CSR publication picking it up.

Stalwart base of the pyramid blogger Emeka Okafor – like PSD Blog, a longtime NextBillion ally – points us to the newly-launched Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund.

Finally, my boss is a superhero. (No, she does not fly…at least not without a plane.) Thanks to marketing guru (and Acumen Fund uber-friend) Seth Godin for creating this Squidoo lens about Jacqueline Novogratz.

Anything new, interesting and relevant that didn’t make it into the roundup? I’m sure there’s a lot. Let me know.