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Atelier de recherche : "Sustainability & Impact challenges at the Base of the Pyramid"

22 décembre 2012

HEC Paris (Chaire Social Business, Entreprise et Pauvreté), l’Ecole Polytechnique (Chair for Business Economics & Chair FDIR) et ESSEC Business School (Institut de l'Innovation et de l'Entrepreneuriat Social) ont organisé, le 16 novembre 2012, la seconde édition de l’atelier de recherche : "Sustainability and Impact Challenges at the Base of the Pyramid". Les trois écoles ont eu l’honneur d’accueillir le Professeur Erik Simanis (Cornell University) co-auteur de BoP ProtocolTM qui a tenu la conférence inaugurale. Plus de 150 chercheurs et professionnels intéressés par les concepts de base de la pyramide, de "social business" ou de responsabilité sociale des entreprises étaient présents.

Sustainability Impact and Challenges at the Base of the Pyramid - HEC Paris 2012

In 1998, C. K. Prahalad released "The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid" (BoP). Ever since, academics and business have developed this approach. Protocols were created, academic proposals were criticized, and numerous projects were launched, few reaching full success. However, for many reasons, BoP ventures seem to be relevant field for companies’ experiments and learning for poverty alleviation and towards a sustainable economy.

The first edition of this research workshop, on February 8th 2010 (Video on iTunesU) was the opportunity to make a review and question the sustainability of BoP practices. Stuart Hart who made the keynote presentation emphasized the need for companies to initiate disruptive innovations and called for the inclusion of environmental concerns.

This second workshop focused on companies internal perspectives and entrepreneurial challenges of their BoP practices (linking with local intermediaries, initiating a strategic renewal, developing new skills and choosing the right business models) and companies experiments to contribute to broader societal change through BoP practices (cross-sector partnerships, mature markets renewal through reverse innovation, the development of social value for BoP markets).

The keynote presentation was delivered by Prof. Erik Simanis from Cornell University, co-author of the BoP ProtocolTM promoting radical innovation and now calling for companies to focus on their core competencies and search for profit. Prof Simanis’ presentation “ Back to Business Fundamentals: Making “Bottom of the Pyramid” Relevant to Core Business” was published in Field Actions Science Reports, Special Issue 4 | 2012.

It was followed by presentations of worldwide academics and contributions of each of the inviting institutions including Bénédicte Faivre-Tavignot, Executive Director of the HEC Paris Social Business / Enterprise and Poverty Chair (Leveraging BoP Markets for Strategic renewal: a longitudinal study of Danone) Practitioners from multinationals with experience in BoP initiatives provided their insights for all participants.

Workshop Presentation and Program


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