Cornell FSE # 05 – The Great Convergence

19 February, 2009 at 03:34 Leave a comment

[via ‘The Great Convergence’ document of Cornell FSE (c) Stuart L. Hart]

    As important as they have been, Clean Technology and BoP represent only partial solutions. Each has evolved with its own particular dominant logic and core assumptions. Indeed, in some respects, each represents a separate “world” with its own set of beliefs, priorities, and culture (see figure below). At the risk of over-simplification, the Clean Technologists see the road to sustainability as paved by new, “sustainable” technologies that dramatically reduce or eliminate the human footprint on the planet.
    The focus is on early penetration of high-end “green” markets at the top of the pyramid, with the promise of eventual “trickle down”. BoP advocates, in contrast, focus on new business models for reaching and serving the poor. Confronting poverty is the primary focus and there is often little attention paid to the environmental implications of such strategies.

    The crucial next step is, therefore, to merge these two strategies in a “Great Convergence”. The Great Convergence recognizes that clean technologies are almost always “disruptive” in character (i.e. they threaten incumbents in current served markets at the top of the pyramid). As a result, the “base of the pyramid” (BoP) is often the best place to focus initial commercialization attention. At the same time, the Great Convergence also recognizes that successful strategies must be co-created with communities and local partners so as to ensure culture fit, rather than imposing technological solutions from the top down.
    Unlike the traditional model of rapid industrialization, which relies heavily on conventional (unsustainable) technology, the Great Convergence seeks instead to fuel growth through the incubation and rapid commercialization of the green (sustainable) technologies of tomorrow. Through such a strategy, the emerging economies of the world could become the breeding ground for the “Green Leap” Revolution (see the figure below)…

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    Entry filed under: BoP, Citizen-Journalism, Deesha, Economy, Energy, Health, India, MCe2, Politics, Poverty, WebXP.

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