How Tech Can Help Empower People at the Bottom of The Pyramid
A blog exploring how technology can be used to help those in need across the globe by spreading education, knowledge, and opportunity.
Over the last several years, I have become obsessed with finding ways to use technology to improve people’s lives. While applications such as Facebook and WhatsApp have revolutionized how we share information and communicate with friends, family, and colleagues, there are many ways that tech can be used to make a bigger impact on society . . . especially for those at the bottom of the pyramid.
This blog will explore some of these opportunities through interviews with founders and investors who are using technology to solve some of the most pressing problems facing our society. My hope is that by sharing these stories of innovation, we can inspire others to think about how they can play a role in building a better world.
I’ve always been interested in technology, but I’ve also always been interested in helping people and improving quality of life. As a child I spent a lot of time in Cambodia, where my mother has worked for many years, and saw first-hand the incredible need for better access to education, knowledge, and opportunity.
Because of this interest in technology and desire to help others, I began exploring how tech can be used to help those in need across the globe by spreading education, knowledge, and opportunity. I was surprised at how little information there was out there on the topic. There were many blogs discussing how tech is useful for empowering consumers who are already well off (such as myself), but very few blogs that discussed how tech could be helpful for those who are not already well off.
I decided that I wanted to create a blog that would explore all aspects of this topic: how technology can be used to empower people at the bottom of the pyramid (BOP), regardless of whether it is being done through non-profits using traditional methods or through start-ups using new business models such as “leapfrogging.”
My goal with this blog is to create awareness around everything happening at the intersection of tech and poverty alleviation, learn from others’ experiences
Some have argued that technology is a force for evil; but when used correctly, it can also be a force for good. We believe that new technologies are an excellent means to help those in need across the globe. Whether by spreading education, knowledge, or opportunity, we want to explore how technology can be used to make the world a better place.
From the bottom of the pyramid to the top; from helping people find jobs to encouraging entrepreneurship; from bringing healthcare to remote villages to connecting isolated communities; from empowering women to fighting child abuse – there are few problems on earth that cannot be solved with technology. With this blog, we aim to explore how technology is being applied in creative ways, and how we can use it to make a difference in the world.
Empowering the poor is a noble pursuit and one that has been explored by many organizations in many different ways. With this blog we seek to explore the technological angle.
We firmly believe that technology can be used to empower people at the bottom of the pyramid and provide more education, knowledge, and opportunities to them. This blog serves as an exploration of how technology can be used to foster empowerment, not only in developing countries, but also closer to home.
Bill Clinton on Tech for Good
A decade ago, the term “tech for good” would have likely been met with raised eyebrows. But as the sector has matured and more philanthropists, foundations, and corporations have come to understand the immense opportunity of tech-enabled giving, it is now widely recognized that technology can be used to solve problems in a more efficient and impactful way than ever before. As Bill Clinton noted in his comments last week at the CGI Annual Meeting, “You see all these innovations coming out of Silicon Valley and New York City, but you wonder how much of it will make a difference.” We believe the answer is: quite a bit—if we can mobilize these forces to help those most in need around the world.
After 10 years of helping develop this space, we are proud that many leading companies—like Microsoft and Google—are also doing their part to help those at the bottom of the pyramid. This kind of success is only possible through collaboration, which was one of the key themes at our seventh annual Global Inclusion Summit this past June in partnership with Harvard Business School. The Summit explored how corporations can partner with NGOs and social enterprises on projects that are both profitable and impactful by thinking creatively about how they leverage technology
The world is moving at the speed of technology and with it comes a new wave of innovation.
The rise of social entrepreneurship, the sharing economy, and crowd-sourced funding are all examples of how technology is enabling us to challenge old systems and create new ones.
Most importantly, it’s inspiring people to take action.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the challenges facing our world. There are over 7 billion people on this planet and for many, life is not easy. But there is hope. Many people are fighting to make a difference and this blog aims to share those stories.
I believe that together we can create a better world. One where every person has access to education, health, knowledge and opportunity so that they may live a full life with dignity.
Technology will play an increasingly important role in this mission and by understanding its power we can take advantage of its possibilities to make a real difference.
The Bottom of the Pyramid is a term coined by Prahlad and Hammond nearly 20 years ago to describe the economic pyramid of people living on less than $3 per day, which is roughly 4 billion people. It’s an extremely important idea, because it gives hope to those who believe in progress that poverty can be reduced at the same time that we’re improving our own standard of living. But it’s also led to some confusion, because there are several incompatible ways of thinking about the pyramid.
The first way is as a market: a huge untapped opportunity to sell low-end products, and make a profit while doing so. The second way is as a problem: millions of people who are suffering from hunger, disease, conflict, illiteracy, and other ills that we want to fix or at least mitigate.
The third is as an opportunity for philanthropy: giving money or time or resources to help other people lead better lives. This requires zero profit motive; you just want to help.
But there’s a fourth way, which I think is more promising than all three of these: using technology, particularly network technology like the internet and mobile phones, not just to improve lives at the bottom of the pyramid but also to connect them with each other and