Even so, many well-intended technologies (for example, the Simputer in India, a mobile computer accessed by personal Sim card) have not become commercially sustainable. Innovative product design geared towards the very different needs and circumstances of developing world consumers is vital, but so are appropriate business models, according to this study of product deployments.
Lack of infrastructure, such as distribution channels, and low availability of finance for locals to invest in technologies (a problem with the Simputer, for example) means that it can take five years or more to implement effective business models - longer than creating the technology. Successful initiatives in this study focused more on the design and implementation of their business model than on product design.
Business models for technology in the developing world: the role of
Henry Chesbrough, Shane Ahern, Megan Finn and Stephane Guerraz,
California Management Review, spring 2006, Vol 48 No 3.
Reviewed by Steve Lodge.