C.K. Prahalad speaks about the BOP at MLK Symposium.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Most wouldn?t combine the teachings of Martin Luther King Jr. with corporate strategy.

Business School Prof. C. K. Prahalad used the opening speech of the 19th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Symposium to do exactly that.

His research in marketing to low-income consumers in developing countries is intended to give the poor a voice in the elitist business world.

?We have to go from looking at the poor as a problem to looking at them as opportunity,? Prahalad said.

Prahalad illustrated the benefits of such thinking by showing videos of his work in India, where businesses have begun to create products marketed to the poor. Prahalad said Jaipur Foot, an Indian company that is the world?s largest prosthetic provider, tailors its products to the poor.

The average prosthetic leg costs $8,000 in the United States; in India, the Jaipur Foot costs $20.

?How can the poor spend money?? Prahalad said. ?We must create the capacity to consume. Thus, make easy payments, ( have) access to credit, create … services so consumers can pay per use and directly distribute.?

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Source: The Michigan Daily (link opens in a new window)