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Base of the pyramid (BOP) as a source of innovation: Experiences of companies in the Kenyan mobile sector

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Mobile innovations have been seen as one of the success stories of ‘base of the pyramid’ (BOP) business models. Nevertheless, deeper analysis of their commercial scalability has been lacking. This article focuses on the Information and Telecommunications (ICT) and mobile boom in Kenya, which is a major economic driver in the whole country. The article describes how social needs are seen as a basis for innovating technological solutions and what strategies are used to make them commercially viable. The article is based on empirical data on the Kenyan mobile industry where companies are designing socially oriented technological innovations for low-end consumers. This research contributes to the ongoing discussion on successful BOP entrepreneurial models and innovations.

Keywords: Kenya; base of the pyramid; business models; entrepreneurship; innovating; mobile applications; social innovation

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/tmsd.11.2.113_1

Affiliations: Aalto University

Publication date: June 1, 2012

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  • The International Journal of Technology Management and Sustainable Development supports new philosophies on technology and development, their relationship to globalisation, and the problems of world poverty and environmental degradation. The journal explores global, social, economic and environmental conditions in relation to shifts in technology and market paradigms.
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