Theresa Newhard

New Base of the Pyramid Resources on

Library BooksAfter a few weeks of non-blogging, I’m happy to write my first post on NextBillion. I’ve spent some time over the last few weeks updating the Resources section of the site, complete with additions to the case study, reports, books and articles sections. A couple of highlights are summarized below, but we’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on what’s particularly valuable and what you think we’re still missing in our virtual library. The entire list of resources can be accessed here.

Happy base of the pyramid reading!

Case: Building a Sustainable Venture: The Mountain Institute’s Earth Brick Machine
Buffington, John and Ted London, 2005

Why we like it: The Mountain Institute (TMI) received a patent for a machine to make environmentally friendly bricks from dirt. Piloting first in China, TMI had plans to scale the Andes, Himalayas and Appalachian mountain regions. TMI’s compressed earth brick (CEB) machine is interesting because, unlike other CEBs targeted for use in developing countries, the TMI machine is engine-driven, enabling users to a higher output of larger bricks. It’s also an excellent example of attempting triple bottom line product design. That being said, the case illuminates important challenges around scalability and the need for competitive advantage.

Check it out: TMI Case Study

Upcoming Book! Sustainability Challenges and Solutions at the Base of the Pyramid
Kandachar, Prabhu and Minna Halme (editors), September 2008

Why we’re excited about it: With contributions from both supporters and critics, this book will scrutinize our understanding and the development thus far of the BoP concept. It will focus on the term’s development, its successes and failures, and the promise it may or may not hold as a long-term strategy for alleviating poverty and tackling global sustainability.

Check it out: Sustainability Challenges and Solutions at the Base of the Pyramid

Report: The Base of the Pyramid Protocol: Toward Next Generation BoP (second edition)

Simanis, Erik and Stuart Hart, 2008

Why we like it: According to Simanis and Hart, first generation corporate BoP strategy (termed BoP 1.0) has fallen short mostly because businesses still remain isolated from the communities they serve. This second version of the BoP Protocol focuses on “second generation BoP strategy,” emphasizing the need to view the bottom billion as co-inventors and co-business creators in their partnership with private sector entities.

Check it out: BoP Protocol, Second Edition

Case: Expanding the Playing Field: Nike’s World Shoe Project
McDonald, Heather, Ted London, and Stuart Hart, 1998

Why we like it: In 1998, Nike began developing the “World Shoe Series,” a line of sports shoes designed specifically for emerging markets in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Their experiment illustrates some of the difficulties in transforming a successful business model in developed countries to one that works in developing nations. From a marketing and CSR perspective, it’s interesting to read this case in the context of a response to multiple cases brought against Nike in the 1990s criticizing the company for human rights violations in their factories.

Check it out: World Shoe Project

Report/Case: Doing Well By Doing Good: ’Fair & Lovely’ Whitening Cream

Karnani, Aneel, Ross School of Business Paper, March 2007

Why we like it: This paper empirically examines the “Doing Well by Doing Good” proposition by challenging the case of Fair & Lovely, a skin whitening product commended by Al Hammond and C.K. Pralahad as a tool for doing good. According to Karnani, “[Fair & Lovely] is, however, not doing good” and has “negative implications for public welfare.”

Check it out: Doing Well by Doing Good