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Published on Dec 8, 2011
The 4th Annual "Summit on Peace and Prosperity Through Trade and Commerce" was hosted at the University of San Diego. This one-day conference focused on the legacy of C. K. Prahalad who left an indelible mark on strategic management and thinking by inspiring people and organizations to consider beyond "best practices" to "next practices" in the field of business at the base-of-the-pyramid (BoP).
The private sector can play a role in helping alleviate poverty by including lower income segments of society into the market system, while at the same time achieving profits. It has appeal to both the business sector, which is always looking for new growth opportunities, as well as those interested in social change and concerned about the plight of the poor. Today if an Internet search for "bottom/base of the pyramid" is conducted, almost 13 million results appear. This is the power that his ideas have sparked in others to simultaneously generate social change and new business opportunities.
He invited us to consider the poor not as victims of poverty, but as resilient and creative entrepreneurs that are value-conscience consumers. He argued that the BoP markets have unmet needs as both consumers and producers and present opportunities for investment, growth and return on risk capital. Low-income markets offer a critical mass of customers, suppliers, distributors and employees that can help companies grow to become, and retain, market leadership. However, serving these markets efficiently and profitably calls for innovative approaches and the design of "next practices".