Sustainability Innovation at the Base of the Pyramid Through Multi-Cited Rapid Ethnography

40 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2015

See all articles by Minna Halme

Minna Halme

Aalto University - School of Business

Arno Kourula

University of Amsterdam Business School

Sara Lindeman

Aalto University - School of Business

Galina Kallio

Aalto University - School of Business

Maria Lima-Toivanen

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland

Angelina Korsunova

Aalto University - School of Business

Date Written: October 20, 2015

Abstract

The past decade has seen a proliferation of suggestions for market-based solutions to global poverty. While research emphasizes that sustainability innovation aimed at poverty alleviation must be grounded in user needs, few studies demonstrate how to study the poor for purposes of early phase innovation in business enterprises, especially in multiple locations comparatively. This study suggests that the necessary understanding of low-income users and their practices can be gained through multi-sited rapid ethnography. We exemplify how the process moves from understanding of needs of poor toward innovation and offer a general framework for evaluating the success of these types of projects. The paper describes the challenges and solutions found in a multi-sited rapid ethnography research in urban base of the pyramid (BOP) contexts in Brazil, India, Russia and Tanzania. It suggests businesses can learn about the poor with the help this method and conduct sustainability innovation on the basis of on the needs of the poor, rather than start with existing products.

Suggested Citation

Halme, Minna and Kourula, Arno and Lindeman, Sara and Kallio, Galina and Lima-Toivanen, Maria and Korsunova, Angelina, Sustainability Innovation at the Base of the Pyramid Through Multi-Cited Rapid Ethnography (October 20, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2676543 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2676543

Minna Halme (Contact Author)

Aalto University - School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 21210
AALTO, FI-00076
Finland

Arno Kourula

University of Amsterdam Business School ( email )

Roetersstraat 18
Amsterdam, 1018WB
Netherlands

Sara Lindeman

Aalto University - School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 21210
AALTO, FI-00076
Finland

Galina Kallio

Aalto University - School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 21210
AALTO, FI-00076
Finland

Maria Lima-Toivanen

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland ( email )

FIN-02044 VTT
Finland

Angelina Korsunova

Aalto University - School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 21210
AALTO, FI-00076
Finland

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