Chapter 6. Reframing Design for the Base of the Pyramid

by Patrick Whitney, Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology

By enabling breakthrough products, issues of design have come to the fore in the industrialized world, which is leaving behind economies of scale for economies of choice. Contrasting the Apple iPhone with the Chotukool refrigerator, author Patrick Whitney explores the provocative question of whether strategic design techniques that have proven themselves at the top of the economic pyramid might also prove useful—in identical or modified forms—when applied to base of the pyramid markets. His answer is “yes”—albeit with some important caveats.

On the morning of June 29, 2007, early-bird commuters arriving on the streets ...

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