Chapter 9


Markets can be merciless. New technology, no matter how brilliant and innovative, will not survive in the marketplace unless it meets customers’ real needs as they perceive them and offers a true competitive advantage over existing products, whether in price, value, or accessibility.

MIT professor Amy Smith has inspired several generations of students and a global network of development practitioners with her passion and commitment to developing technology suitable for use by poor people in the Global South. But when she and her D-Lab team at MIT launched an initiative to help families in Haiti make charcoal out of agricultural by-products such as bagasse (sugarcane waste), they ran into ...

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