Erin and I are at the University of Michigan for the Base of the Pyramid meeting. It’s a small conference, about 100 people and has a terrific cast of speakers. It started this afternoon with keynotes by Ted London and Stuart Huart. CK was unable to make it, he was ill unfortunately. Nice talks, Stuart talked about his Green Leap idea, that the small distributed energy solutions at the BOP are good sources of innovation and not really connected with Big Green (the GEs of the world, and the US/Western Europe big solutions of solar thermal utilities, etc.). I think that’s true. Although the energy infrastructures are quite different, so there may not be a lot of opportunity to cross fertilize, there is still a lot of space for innovation there and it is key to long term survivability (like one of them said a planet of 6.5 billion American consumers won’t work).

There was definitely a change in tone to get BOP sounding more like a solution to poverty rather than a place for big companies to make money. It requires a more collaborative solution than most big companies can manage. I can attest to that with my experience in an MNC.