Creating an innovation ecosystem for inclusive and sustainable business
Over the past decade, most base-of-the-pyramid (BoP) ventures have either failed outright or dramatically under-performed against expectations. There are many and varied reasons for this less-than-stellar track record. Perhaps no cause for BoP failure, however, has been more ubiquitous than the mistaken belief that BoP ventures are no different from new ventures aimed at the developed markets at the top of the pyramid—the assumption that all that is required for venture success is an affordable product and an effective business model for production, marketing and distribution. Unfortunately, when it comes to the BoP, “no man is an island”: in the under-served, informal and opaque settings at the bottom of the income pyramid, ventures must be embedded in larger ecosystems rather than stand-alone initiatives. To paraphrase Hillary Clinton, it “takes a village”—or an innovation ecosystem—to succeed with BoP enterprise.