My switched-on former-collaborator Niti Bhan made a great post on Core 77: The 5D's of Base of the Pyramid Marketing – Touchpoints for a holistic, human centered strategy a while back. Many of her considerations are relevant to the pursuit of social business models in low-income communities as well. Here's some snippets – but I encourage you to read the actual article as it's packed with inspiring examples which illustrate each point.
Development: "Every decision to spend money made by those who manage on uncertain incomes at the base of the pyramid can be said to be analogous to making a strategic investment decision. This needs to produce tangible value in their immediate future, in some way or the other."
Design: ... "Design for the next billion customers looks at the ways customers at the bottom of the pyramid evaluate and choose products, their value systems and worldviews, and how this influences the design of products and services meant to address their needs."
Distribution: "The greatest invention cannot change the world if it does not get manufactured and distributed."
Demand: "Communication must resonate with the audience's value system and worldview. Does a demand exist...? Are people aware of the benefits? And are they able to understand why they should part with their limited and often unpredictable income for it?"
Dignity: The poor may have shallower pockets than their wealthier brethren, but they're no fools and can smell patronizing good works a mile off.
What are your thoughts on how these points relate to creating social business in low-income communities? Would you add any other focus areas? (starting with D or any other letter? ;^)