Cornell’s Stuart Hart claims that ‘disruptive innovations are best incubated outside of the mainstream market’. Hart feels that underserved markets, where the infrastructure has not been built out, offer a clean slate and ideal testing ground for companies to develop “disruptive” clean technologies. A new solar infrastructure, for instance, would disrupt the coal mining industry and coal-fired power plants.
By driving innovation from the underserved spaces at the base of the pyramid, companies can avoid the inertia, stranded assets, and customer un-learning problems they face in developed markets. With over two billion people in the world without access to electricity, what better markets to launch distributed generation and renewable energy industries?
“If we are really successful with this, eventually the sustainable innovations that take root in the BoP will trickle up to the top of the pyramid.”