June 22, 2013
June 22, 2013
June 22, 2013
21.6.1 - 21.6.11
A Systematic Methodology for the Development of Enterprise at the Base of the Economic PyramidThe problems associated with extreme poverty have proven to be among the most intractable inthe world, and, while engineers are critically important to the process, meaningful progressrequires that interdisciplinary, international, intercultural, inter-socioeconomic teams work asone toward a commonly understood goal. When assembling such a diverse team, it is necessaryto establish a fundamental and easily communicated strategy so that all team membersunderstand the importance of their roles within the overall team effort, as well as appreciating thechallenges and constraints of other team members. This strategy may be thought of as theintersection of the diverse bodies of knowledge of all team members that defines the “commonknowledge” required to function as a unified and focused team. Using this strategy, a systematicmethodology was developed at Arizona State University through an evolution and maturation ofGlobalResolve initiative which is based on the nexus between engineering for the developingworld and social entrepreneurship. The development of the methodology was approached byconsidering enterprise development at the Base of the Pyramid (BoP) as a complex systemsengineering problem. In this context, the word “system” means an integrated set of interactingpeople, policies, procedures, and components that react to an input and produce a predictableoutput. The inputs to this system are the skills and talents of people living at the BoP, and theoutput is a successful enterprise that generates economic activity, provides employment, andimproves people’s lives. By implementing the vision of GlobalResolve to engage students andfaculty in enterprise-based solutions to extreme poverty, multilevel beneficial effects, such astraining students to provide sustainable and appropriate engineering solutions while establishingprofitable businesses at the BoP, can be achieved when the methodology is used to guide thedevelopment of curricula in social entrepreneurship both directly within engineering programsand within the wider academic infrastructure.
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