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The Business Solution to Poverty: Designing Products and Services for Three Billion New Customers
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The Business Solution to Poverty: Designing Products and Services for Three Billion New Customers

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3.79  ·  Rating details ·  147 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Right now the number of people living on $2 a day or less is more than the entire population of the world in 1950. These 2.7 billion people are not just the world’s greatest challenge—they represent an extraordinary market opportunity. By learning how to serve them ethically and effectively, businesses can earn handsome profits while helping to solve one of the world’s mos ...more
Hardcover, 264 pages
Published September 9th 2013 by Berrett-Koehler Publishers (first published January 1st 2013)
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Average rating 3.79  · 
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 ·  147 ratings  ·  17 reviews


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John II
Jun 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a book that cries out to those of all ages who want meaning and purpose in their life. The goal is simple—bring out of poverty those 2.7 billion people who live on $2 or less per day. As the authors graphically and specifically point out—this is far from easy. But, think about it, what in life of great importance is easily accomplished?

The book itself points out some of its potential readers: entrepreneurs or investors seeking practical ways to profit from new enterprises in
...more
Zahedul
Jun 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Paul Polak, founder of iDE, a renowned INGO, shares his philosophy for alleviating poverty. The book champions the market development approach, as opposed to charitable and philanthropic initiatives. Based on his wealth of experience implementing myriad initiatives over the last 25 years, Paul dissects the current status quo and way forward for increasing living standards of people at the BOP segment. His main proposition for solving development challenges is to adopt business solutions, which a ...more
K Shah
Apr 25, 2016 rated it it was ok
Listened to the audio book over a couple long roads trips. Overall this is a very ambitious book with a clear thesis: the current solutions to poverty (government aid, non-profits, micro-finance, etc) are not working. Instead of seeing the poor at helpless we need to see them as potential customers. The authors argue that market solutions are the only way to truly address poverty. This view aligns closely to my belief and because of this I was excited to read the book.

Overall I think
...more
Mark
Jun 23, 2015 rated it liked it
The basic premiss of the book is
1. Identify solutions by interviewing and living among the target audience. Definitely sound advice as people come up with lots of solutions to poverty that just don't work due to lack of first hand experience.
2. Look for money making solutions that will help at least 3 billion people. The author stressed this over and over trying to convince you it isn't worth your time unless it has huge potential. Their motivation is of course to encourage us to think bi
...more
Bill Pritchard
Jan 01, 2015 rated it liked it
The Business Solution to Poverty is a challenging book - especially if one has given over his soul to working with a Non-Governmental Agency (Rotary) to do good in the world. Mr. Polak and Mr. Warwick, from their personal experience points to the glaring fact that no matter the "good deeds" done in the name of charity and help, there are 2.7 billion people that are living on less than $2 a day. Promising governmental and philanthropic efforts to end this poverty have not reached scale because th ...more
Cyndie
Sep 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
What if profitability that can be mass-reproduced is the ultimate test of something's long-term sustainability as a method for helping the poorest people in the world? This book has a somewhat challenging and controversial premise. The premise that it is only people who make something valuable enough and cost-effective enough that it can be sold effectively to the poor (and in turn will make a 300% return on investment for them) have really come to truly understand their problem in the first pla ...more
Lexington
Jul 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I actually was considering buying Out of Poverty on kindle. I wanted to reread it since it was a textbook that I enjoyed in college, but I ended up buying this instead because it was newer and I hadn't read it yet.

It was very similar to Out of Poverty. I liked all of the examples, but I felt like there was too much concentration on the treadle pump. I also felt like much information was repeated, and some information from Out of Poverty was also reiterated in this book.

It
...more
Don
Jun 06, 2015 rated it liked it
Poverty of opportunities, myth of overpopulation, dow left with GE subsidies, trickle up better than trickle down, zero based design, mass product vs smaller scale, diss micros, too caught up in scaling vs individual innovation, test with bacteria growth sold system water treatment, people want to buy carbon credits to reduce warming, charcoal promotion, stakeholder centered, biofuel over oil gas, solar with carbon credits, marketing is of challenge. dis micro loans vs sometimes it works, dis r ...more
Jared
Dec 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
There's something seriously wrong with this book. The audience they intend to address the technicality they stuff into the pages is off-putting. Second, you have to be Jesus to come up with such selfless entrepreneurial idea that aims to reach billions. The tone in their work also implicitly discounts those who help the poor and change lives at a very small scale. These people also matter! Fighting poverty is a patient task- one person at a time, one family at a time...

They're just not realisti
...more
Jose Papo
Dec 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Interesting book with nice ideas about how to build products and services to customers with very low income. Liked a lot the eight principles of Zero-based Design. You can find an overview of the eight keys of Zero-based Design here: http://www.corporateecoforum.com/zero...
Michael Tarpinian
Jan 16, 2016 rated it it was ok
Call my gosh what was the point? Meant for perhaps 1000 people in the country or the world. Why is it sitting in the Palatine library? Obscure subject matterabout starting a business that can serve at least 100 million people making two dollars a day or less.
Arun Gurung
Jan 10, 2016 is currently reading it
Interesting one
Timothy Smith
Aug 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Has several strong points and important ideas. It comes with a very aggressive tone. It would be valuable to learn how the development community responds to the arguments in this book or doesn't.
Alice Korngold
Apr 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Excellent and important!
Matthew
Nov 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Now I just need to figure out a business idea that solves a problem in developing-world communities!
Pj Briggs
Nov 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful challenge to anyone trying to have an impact
Karel Baloun
Mar 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Solid ideas and case studies. Engaging writing style, absolutely correct conclusions. I just ended wishing for more depth and breadths
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Paul Polak Founder of Colorado-based non-profit International Development enterprises (IDE) is dedicated to developing practical solutions that attack poverty at its roots.

For the past 25 years, Paul has worked with thousands of farmers in countries around the world--including Bangladesh, India, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Myanmar, Nepal, Vietnam, Zambia and Zimbabwe--to help design and
p
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