The book The Business Solution to Poverty argues against non-profit development and for scalable, business-like approaches to end poverty. When I reviewed the book, I saw a lot of practical wisdom in the argument, but also wondered how many such approaches could live up to the challenge. I think Hello Tractor could make the grade.
“If we want our cities to do more than simply expand haphazardly to accept their new residents, it’s time to start planning.”
I admit this post’s headline can sound a bit snarky, but it reflects a legitimate curiosity that struck me recently. After all my posts here about a lack of marketing know-how in the public and social sectors, I started wondering if public and social leaders are ever introduced to marketing concepts.
It’s primary election season in California. Sometimes we compare elections to the corporate hiring process, talking about “the best person for the job” or “tossing someone out of the office.”
Extending that comparison, the campaign process becomes analogous to interviewing. In my voter’s pamphlet (with its awful governmental page layout), several candidates emphasized their MBA or CPA credentials or business and managerial experience.
Part of the marketing challenge for public and social services is scale. To be fair and equitable, public services should be accessible to all of the public. There are obvious logistical challenges to serving all the public (consider the ability to deliver a letter to any and every address in the country). But as a recent Harvard Business Review article points out, not all members of the public are the same, either.
A recent story from the Business Innovation Facility about the MEGA project touches many of the themes of this blog: how to distribute affordable energy to rural communities living off the grid at the bottom of the economic pyramid. It also raises an interesting question about scale.
I like how Paul Polak and Mal Warwick start The Business Solution to Poverty: Designing Products and Services for Three Billion New Customers focused on their target customer, the global poor who live on less than $2 per day. This is a massive customer segment: 2.7 billion people.