Y.C. Deveshwar, Chairman, ITC Limited, India
… As I read through the manuscript of this book though, I sensed a welcome change in approach. Far from merely examining opportunities to make a fortune “at” the base of the pyramid, Hart and London and their co-authors had collaborated to highlight the need to create fortunes “for” and “with” the base of the pyramid. This fresh approach was significantly aligned with our own efforts at ITC, over a decade and a half, to co-create sustainable and inclusive societies through innovative business models. A “Triple Bottom Line” approach that has enabled ITC to help create sustainable livelihoods for more than 5 million people, a corporation that is carbon positive, water positive, and waste recycling positive, and a top ranking economic value creator in the Indian economy. It is because of this compatibility between ITC’s perspective and the broad ideas presented in this book that I am happy to contribute these introductory thoughts, and to support the efforts of Hart, London, and their co-authors in providing thought leadership in an area of immense importance to societies globally.
I firmly believe that innovation in corporate strategies and an abiding vision to serve a larger societal purpose can significantly transform the future and mitigate many of the sustainability threats discussed earlier. New entrepreneurs, as well as progressive companies, have a great opportunity today to contribute meaningfully to building a secure and sustainable future. So far, open innovation models have synergized the efforts of internal resources, supply chain participants, and even customers to co-create new products and services. To my mind, the need of the hour today is to encourage innovation in corporate strategies and business models that will enable companies to co-create, with local communities, opportunities for sustainable livelihoods, as well as enrichment of natural capital.
I want to compliment the distinguished authors of this book, once again, for collaborating to find engaging solutions that can build new hopes for the many in the base of the pyramid. I also join you in paying my tribute to the late C.K. Prahalad, who helped begin the journey. My very best wishes in this endeavor.