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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Bottom of Pyramid with PROFIT

It is not about the book. I have not even read the book so far. But yes you will find ideas that pretty simillar to those mentioned in "fortune at bottom of pyramid" . And the simillarities are there because the motivation behind writting this artcile is the lecture by a co-author of the book on the same concepts. I really don't have much time so I am just gonna everything that I have assimilated in some random order right now, may be I will fix this at some later time.

There are couple of demystifications that I got through the lecture. Here is the most important one.
This conversation of helping the environment and community is not about non-profit organization. This is not about charity, and it is not about giving up money or other opportunities to help the world. Please do not misunderstand, it is also not about being capitalist i.e. make money, pack your bags and leave without giving a damn about the rest of the world. So what is it about? It is about making profit such that you are able to work with the rest of the community (even the most underprivilleged ones) without destroying (actually co-creating) the environment/better ecological system.
Doesn't it sound contradictory? It sounded like that to me. I mean how do you make money without polluting the environment and exploiting community.

So let me just sum before we loose track. There are three players in the story:
1. You (your family, your future, your company, your bank balance)
2. Community (other human beings, your friends, your countrymen, whole world)
3. Environment (the whole ecological system, atmosphere, lithosphere, biosphere etc.)

There is only one argument that I am trying to defend here: "Yes. There exist opportunities and there exists technology which when implemented appropriately can leave all three players better off than otherwise. Actually I should say there exist atleast the possibilities to create such opportunies and technology."

Whether you believe me or not, I am convinced that this is the new economic revolution which is happening this era. And if you don't want to loose out, you better be part of it, just for your own sake.

If now I have your attention to this, let us talk about a framework which shows a silver lining that something like this is possible. There are two objectives you should keep in mind while studying the framework.
1. This framework defines the language which will help to communicate/share ideas that you have. So you should learn the language.
2. It also gives an starting point on how to go about brainstorming about the whole concept.

There are four kinds of domain that people are referring to when they talk about the ideas of helping community, create sustainable businesses, protect environment, help underprivilleged etc. etc. Ofcourse there are also exist one more dimension which is of Non-Profit organizations, but here we will not be referring to it. We believe profit as an important goal for the whole exercise. So here are those four dimensions:

1. Can you re-engineer the process such that it reduces pollution, and improves the quality/output and thus helps your bottom-line today?
2. Can you look beyond your current scope business to say a complete life cycle or environment to redesign the whole process and ways in which people currently interact to improve the product, environment and decrease cost at the same time? That is can you collaborate with other people to come up with a better solution/product to serve the market?
3. Can you innovate a technology which will change the whole ideology in which a product is currently percieved? That is a totally new and different way to satisfy a consumer need with a product which radically different than today's products?
4. Can you think of a way to actually take this technology to whole new market segment that is people at bottom of pyramid which have never been targeted so far? You need to collaborate with these people in order to understand their needs to come up with a solution.

I really feel sad that today I don't have time to delve into these, but I would be very happy to get in touch with people who got some insight to what am I am talking about. I am excited about this as I write this article, let us see where we go.