Well, after the conference, we had a flurry of other meetings and events, so I didn’t get to final post on the BOP meeting. Overall, this was a good meeting, it was good to meet a lot of people. But overall, I think most people were a little disappointed with the content and structure. There didn’t seem to be anything dramatically new from the BOP conference from 2007. For me, I would like to have heard a lot more from some of the big NGOs that were there, like CARE and WOrld Vision, which do have scalable businesses in many parts of the world. How do they work? How, or even could they, benefit from some of the models described by BOP business school practitioners? What about some of the large funders like Skoll or Gates Foundations? They see a lot of models, what have they seen that works well. As mentioned in the previous post, the tone seemed to go from MNCs make a “fortune” to helping with poverty alleviation. That’s a pretty different message.

The last day of the meeting was open to attendee-suggested breakouts. Erin and I put together a group to look at collaboration issues. We got grouped together with a couple others, and ended up with a nice session which discussed how can major groups like NGOs, MNCs, Universities, etc. work together.

A lot of the questions seemed to boil down to:

  • What do the “other” groups do?
  • How do they get good data?
  • How do they measure things?
  • What are their data needs?

To move into something actionable and something to follow up on, we wanted to get an example of “it” for a specific domain and geography. Sort of collecting pre-competitive market data as some research consortiums do in various industries. With that, we can have the people from all the different groups see if this is what they are looking for, does it add value, etc.

With that in mind, the group, thanks mostly to Rashmir from Gates, said What is it that people want?

  1. Data to inform business development.
  2. Evidence.
  3. Best practices/models.
I agreed to take an action on work on this for a specific geography and domain. The Emerging Markets club at University of Michigan Ross School of Business has tentatively agreed to help with this.