Collaborative business modeling

Collaborative business modeling is a structured understanding of the strategies and processes organizations use when doing business with other stakeholders to achieve their goals. Collaborative business modeling is increasingly being applied to understand opportunities at the base of the pyramid (BoP), which is defined as the world’s largest, but poorest socio-economic segment and close to half the world’s population live on less than US$5.50 per day.

Most collaborative business models are based in Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic markets, which may be ill-suited when applied to the BoP context. Therefore, the research conducted aimed to describe the themes, synergies and gaps between business modeling in the BoP context and collaborative business modeling.

A framework is developed to describe collaborative business models in the BoP context based around five themes:

  • Collaborative business model elements for design
  • Collaborative business model development steps to take
  • A collaborative business model’s impact evaluation
  • Principles to collaborate with business model partners
  • Engagement with the local context in collaborative business modeling

Figure 1 describes the features of the five themes in collaborative business modelling in the BoP context. We emphasize how important it is for organizations, both locally situated and external, to think beyond the initialization phase of collaboration to fully engage with these themes to scale up and realize the potential synergies for sustainable growth. In this way, BoP communities can achieve poverty reduction and a longer-term process of self-determinism and connected autonomy.

Figure 1: Features of the five themes in collaborative business modelling in BoP context

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[2] Dembek, K., York, J., & Singh, P. J. (2018). Creating value for multiple stakeholders: Sustainable business models at the Base of the Pyramid. Journal of Cleaner Production, 196, 1600–1612.

[3] Henrich, J., Heine, S.J. and Norenzayan, A. (2010). Most people are not WEIRD. Nature, 466, pp. 29-29.

[4] Randles, S. and Laasch, O. (2016). Theorising the normative business model. Organization & Environment, 29, pp. 53-73.

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