C.K. Prahalad’s Legacy: Business for Poverty Alleviation

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Conference Overview


C.K. Prahalad’s Legacy: Business for Poverty Alleviation

September 15-17, 2011

C.K. Prahalad’s premise that business models can mobilize social change by engaging the poor in the marketplace profitably has caught the imagination of many from academics, to for profit companies, governments, aid agencies, and civil society organizations, triggering links between issues that heretofore lacked real connection: social development, the fight against poverty, and business performance. In less than a decade since his first publication on the Base of the Pyramid (BOP) came out, academics as well as leaders from a wide range of organizations, continue to define what is needed to develop new inclusive value chains and how impact is assessed.

The purpose of this conference is to celebrate Prahalad’s contribution by discussing where we stand in the BOP field, as well as its future as a field of inquiry and practice. Papers on theoretical and empirical research on topics such as:  alliances between business and NGOs (as key components of the BOP ecosystem); corporate social responsibility and BOP market development; organizational change and innovation; social entrepreneurship and BOP ventures, among others, are encouraged. The BOP field has had an impact in university business programs, both at the graduate and undergraduate level. Courses and programs have sprung up all over the world covering topics such as business strategy at the BOP; Business and Global Poverty; Peace through Commerce, etc.  Multiple field-based courses have been created in Latin America, Africa and Asia to better prepare students to consider business as an agent of world change. Papers discussing innovations in teaching are welcomed.  

Paper discussions will enrich the dialogue among participants while providing feedback to the authors.  At a broader level, informal interaction during the course of the workshop and afterwards is also expected to produce useful frameworks for better understanding new paradigms in BOP ventures. The best papers will be considered for publication in a special journal issue. 

On Friday morning, participants will have the opportunity to learn from business leaders throughout the world discussing their experiences in a wider forum open to students and community members.