How can the world's nearly 3 billion who live on $2 a day or less be lifted out of poverty?|
The nearly three billion people living on $2 a day are not just the world's greatest challenge -- they represent an extraordinary market opportunity. The key is what Paul Polak and Mal Warwick call Zero-Based Design: starting from scratch to create innovative products and services tailored for the very poor, armed with a thorough understanding of what they really want and need and driven by what Polak and Warwick call "the ruthless pursuit of affordability."
Polak and Warwick argue that the way to help these people is not to view them as victims or as charity cases, but as customers whose needs the market can serve effectively and profitably, without exploitation. In fact, Polak has been doing it for years.
The key is to design products and services explicitly for this market -- not cheapened versions of products designed for more affluent markets -- an approach called ZeroBased Design. Polak and Warwick spell out, step by step, the guidelines and principles of this approach, and show how it has already been able to supply the very poor with clean drinking water, electricity, irrigation, housing, education, healthcare, and other necessities at a fraction of the usual cost and at profit margins comparable to the more developed world. This approach can be scaled up to reach a virtually untouched market of millions or even billions -- this is an extraordinary opportunity for nimble entrepreneurs, investors, and corporate executives that will result in tremendous good for the world's poorest people.
"One of the most hopeful propositions to come along in a long time. Paul Polak and Mal Warwick's approach is original, ambitious, and practicaland it just may be the key to reducing the number of people in poverty on a very large scale. Polak and Warwick lay out a practical and systematic way to work on a global scale, transforming the lives of hundreds of millions of poor people." -- President Bill Clinton
"Few people in rich countries like the United States can imagine what poverty in the developing world is really like. The Business Solution to Poverty will help readers everywhere understand both the enormous human toll that poverty takes and the true potential to end it." -- Van Jones, cofounder, Green for All and Rebuild the Dream
Mal Warwick is founder and chairman of Mal Warwick and Associates, a direct-marketing fund-raising firm for nonprofits and progressive political candidates. He is one of four partners in the One World Futbol Project and was formerly chairman of the Social Venture Network.
Interviewed by Linda Schacht Gage, UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism
4:30 PM at the Hillside Club (2286 Cedar Street, Berkeley)
Tickets: $15 general, $8 students; $18 at the door
Hillside Club (View)
2286 Cedar Street
Berkeley, CA 94709
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