Abstract

Poverty is one of the most significant problems faced by humanity. Today, a high number of the world’s population, known as the bottom or base of the (economic) pyramid (BoP), lives on less than $1.90 daily income. Various stakeholders take part in a range of efforts aiming to solve this multi-faceted and complex problem. Among these efforts, innovative product development has gained acceleration in the last two decades with the contribution of private sector actors. Yet, the challenges in practice force these actors to embrace the problem area creatively. At this point, university collaborations offer creative and inspiring ways of approaching the world’s complex problems, including BoP initiatives. Nevertheless, despite the rising expectations from collaborative practices, only a minority of ideas are achievable. This study examines four collaboration cases targeting BoP communities, which took place between a global household appliances company and two academic institutions in Turkey. The examination is grounded in participant observation of the collaborations and the researcher’s field notes in four diaries. The study sheds light onto the industrial partner’s objectives and expectations from the collaboration. It presents barriers in the realization of student ideas and proposes enablers to overcome these barriers.

Keywords:

design for the bottom/base of the pyramid, innovation, new product development, participant-observation, university collaboration.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

Share

COinS
 
Jul 9th, 12:00 AM

Learning through Industry-University Collaboration: Observation of Product Innovation Cases Targeting Low-income Communities

Poverty is one of the most significant problems faced by humanity. Today, a high number of the world’s population, known as the bottom or base of the (economic) pyramid (BoP), lives on less than $1.90 daily income. Various stakeholders take part in a range of efforts aiming to solve this multi-faceted and complex problem. Among these efforts, innovative product development has gained acceleration in the last two decades with the contribution of private sector actors. Yet, the challenges in practice force these actors to embrace the problem area creatively. At this point, university collaborations offer creative and inspiring ways of approaching the world’s complex problems, including BoP initiatives. Nevertheless, despite the rising expectations from collaborative practices, only a minority of ideas are achievable. This study examines four collaboration cases targeting BoP communities, which took place between a global household appliances company and two academic institutions in Turkey. The examination is grounded in participant observation of the collaborations and the researcher’s field notes in four diaries. The study sheds light onto the industrial partner’s objectives and expectations from the collaboration. It presents barriers in the realization of student ideas and proposes enablers to overcome these barriers.

 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.