A Framework for Understanding the Context and Evaluating Solutions in Design for Base of the Economic Pyramid

  • Pankaj UpadhyayEmail author
  • Ravi Mokashi Punekar
Conference paper
Part of the Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies book series (SIST, volume 134)


In this paper, we propose a framework, derived from a review of extant literature, for concept selection in the context of design for the BoP at early phases of the design process. In BoP projects, it is difficult for designer to select appropriate concepts since the understanding of the context is limited. This is because the ideas for BoP context have a broader scope and due to the subjectivity of the requirements. In the context, concept selection criteria are much broader than the performance characteristics used for products in technical system. Hence, new methods of selection and evaluation of concepts may be necessary. We propose the use of the framework for the evaluation of design solutions for BoP contexts and suggest a possible methodology for the same. The paper concludes with a discussion on how the framework can be used and the future scope for the research.


Base of pyramid DfBoP Concept selection Designer mindset 


  1. 1.
    Prahalad, C.K., Hammond, A.: Serving the world’s poor, profitably. Harv. Bus. Rev. 80(9), 4–11 (2002)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Karnani, A.G.: Fortune at the bottom of the pyramid: a mirage. Business 49, 48–109 (2007)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Donnelly, J., et al.: Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2016: Taking on Inequality. The World Bank, Washington (2016)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    London, T., Anupindi, R., Sheth, S.: Creating mutual value: Lessons learned from ventures serving base of the pyramid producers. J. Bus. Res. 63(6), 582–594 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Crabtree, A.: Evaluating ‘the bottom of the pyramid’ from a fundamental capabilities perspective. Bus. Sch. Cent. Bus 1, 22 (2007)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Landrum, N.E.: Advancing the ‘base of the pyramid’ debate. Strateg. Manag. Rev. 1(1), 1–12 (2007)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Kolk, A., Rivera-Santos, M., Rufin, C.: Reviewing a decade of research on the ‘base/bottom of the pyramid’ (BOP) concept. Bus. Soc. 53(3), 338–377 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Leavy, B.: India: MNC strategies for growth and innovation. Strateg. Leadersh. 42(2), 30–39 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Prahalad, C., Hart, S.: Strategies for the bottom of the pyramid: creating sustainable development. Ann. Arbor. 1001, 1–26 (1999)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Viswanathan, M., Rosa, J.A.: Product and Market Development for Subsistence Marketplaces: Consumption and Entrepreneurship beyond Literacy and Resource Barriers, pp. 1–17Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Nimunkar, A.J., Baran, J., Van Sickle, D., Pagidimarry, N.K., Webster, J.G.: Medical devices for developing countries: Design constraints and approaches. In: Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, pp 7048–7051Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Khadilkar, P.: Formulating the design scope for the base of the (economic) pyramid. Des. Issues 33(2), 4–17 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Jagtap, S., Larsson, A., Hiort, V., Olander, E., Warell, A., Khadilkar, P.: How design process for the base of the pyramid differs from that for the top of the pyramid. Des. Stud. 35(5), 527–558 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Lecomte, C., Blanco, E., Trompette, P., Cholez, C.: Towards a better frugal design using persona. In: 1st Interdisciplinary Innovation Conference Cooperating for Innovation: Devices for Collective Exploration (2013)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Pansera, M., Sarkar, S.: Crafting sustainable development solutions: frugal innovations of grassroots entrepreneurs. Sustainability 8(1), 51 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Soni, P., Krishnan, R.T., Krishnan, R.T.: Frugal innovation: aligning theory, practice, and public policy. J. Indian Bus. Res. 6(1), 29–47 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Castillo, L.G., Diehl, J.C., Brezet, .C.: Design considerations for base of the pyramid (BoP) projects. In: Proceedings of the Nothern World Mandate: Culumus Helsinki Conference, pp. 1–15 (2012)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Brem, A., Wolfram, P.: Research and development from the bottom up—introduction of terminologies for new product development in emerging markets. J. Innov. Entrep. 3(1), 1–22 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Austin-Breneman, JYang, M.: Design for micro-enterprise: an approach to product design for emerging markets. In: ASME 2013 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, pp. 1–11, 2013Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Zeschky, M., Winterhalter, S., Gassmann, O.: From cost to frugal and reverse innovation: mapping the field and implications for global competitiveness. Res. Technol. Manag. 57(4), 20–27 (2014)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Scupin, R.: The KJ method: a technique for analyzing data derived from Japanese ethnology. Human Organ. 56, 233–237 (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Mattson, C.A., Wood, A.E.: Nine principles for design for the developing world as derived from the engineering literature. J. Mech. Des. 136, 121403 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    López, A.M., Musonda, F., Sakao, T., Kebir, N.: Lessons learnt from designing PSS for base of pyramid. Proced. CIRP 61, 623–628 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Aschmoneit, M., Janevska D.: Closing the gap between frugal and reverse innovation: lessons learned from the case of the Tata Nano (2013)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Agnihotri, A.: Low-cost innovation in emerging markets. J. Strateg. Mark. 23, 1–13 (2014)Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    ver Loren van Themaat, T., Schutte, C.S., Lutters, E., Kennon, D.: Designing a framework to design a business model for the ‘bottom of the pyramid’ population. South Afr. J. Ind. Eng. 24(3), 190–204 (2013)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Jagtap, S., Larsson, A.: ICoRD’13, ICoRD’ Lecture Notes Mechanical Engineering, July 2015 (2013)Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Schafer, C., Parks, R., Rai, R.: Design for emerging bottom of the pyramid markets: a product service system (PSS) based approach. In Volume 9: 23rd International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology; 16th Design for Manufacturing and the Life Cycle Conference, pp. 1019–1031 (2011)Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Fox, S.: Moveable factories: how to enable sustainable widespread manufacturing by local people in regions without manufacturing skills and infrastructure. Technol. Soc. 42, 49–60 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Ray, S., Kanta Ray, P.: Product innovation for the people’s car in an emerging economy. Technovation 31(5–6), 216–227 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Winterhalter, S., Zeschky, M., Gassmann, O. and Weiblen, T.: Business models for frugal innovation : the role of resource-constraints. In: Proceedings of 2014 R&D Management Conference, p. 11 (2014)Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Aranda, J.C., Jagtap, S., Moultrie, J.: Towards a framework for holistic contextual design for low-resource settings. Int. J. Des. 10, 3 (2016)Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Rahman, S.A., Amran, A., Ahmad, N.H., Taghizadeh, S.K.: Supporting entrepreneurial business success at the base of pyramid through entrepreneurial competencies. Manag. Decis. 53(6), 1203–1223 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Seyfang, G., Haxeltine, A.: Growing grassroots innovations: exploring the role of community-based initiatives in governing sustainable energy transitions. Environ. Plan. C Gov. Policy 30(3), 381–400 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Jakobsson, M., Pekkala, J.: The design approach to developing renewable energy systems in BoP markets. Int. J. Des. Manag. Prof. Pract. 8(3), 63–78 (2015)Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Chikweche, T., Fletcher, R.: Branding at the base of pyramid: a Zimbabwean perspective. Mark. Intell. Plan. 29(3), 247–263 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Subrahmanyan, S., Tomas Gomez-Arias, J.: Integrated approach to understanding consumer behavior at bottom of pyramid. J. Consum. Mark. 25(7), 402–412 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Jagtap, S., et al.: Design and development of products and services at the base of the pyramid: a review of issues and solutions. Int. J. Sustain. Soc. 5(3), 207–231 (2013)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Chikweche, T., Fletcher, R.: Customer relationship management at the base of the pyramid: myth or reality? J. Consum. Mark. 30(3), 295–309 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Pahl, G., Beitz, W., Feldhusen, J., Grote, K.H.: Engineering design: a systematic approach (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Nahi, T.: Cocreation at the base of the pyramid. Organ. Environ. 29(4), 416–437 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Indian Institute of Technology GuwahatiGuwahatiIndia

Personalised recommendations