I was just emailed a link to the keynote presentations from the conference in Oxford: “Confronting the Challenge of Technology for Development: Experiences from the BRICS” and I realized I should post a copy of my abstract and some follow-up thoughts from my presentation (which was about the diffusion of innovation in developing countries through microfranchising).
(For a basic introduction to microfranchising, you can go here or here)
- Microfranchising is an powerful, intuitive concept that will most likely spread exponentially in a similar way to microcredit.
- It addresses both social and economic problems in a novel and effective way.
- There are unsuccessful microfranchises (one of which I learned about at the conference), and I need to do more exploration as to what factors were involved.
- The innovations needed for developing countries are not just product innovations, but also innovations in system and process (as the ones which are implemented from developed countries often fail) – and microfranchising is a great example of that.
- Microfranchising is a useful concept for developed countries as well, and for govt and education as well as business.
- I want the journal we choose to publish our article in to be free and online, in order to reach the most people of the key target audience.
Here is the abstract…
The Diffusion of Innovations in Emerging Economies through Microfranchising
P. Clint Rogers, Ph.D.
Jason Fairbourne (Director, MicroFranchise Development Initiative),
Robert C. Wolcott, Ph.D. (Founder & Director, Kellogg Innovation Network; MBA & EMBA Faculty, Innovation & Entrepreneurship)
Emerging markets present a host of challenges for the traditional structures and operations of multinational businesses. Everything from different consumer needs and marketing obstacles to product distribution challenges and human resource management issues (Srinivas, 2002). These challenges provide opportunities for innovation not only in product development, but also in organizational structure and management (Brown, 2004). In this article we present an innovative business management model called microfranchising which has successfully facilitated the introduction and scalable distribution of innovations in emerging economies. The impetus behind the origination of the idea was to provide sound business opportunities and services to the world’s poor by introducing scaled-down business concepts found in successful franchise organizations. The key principle is replication– replicating success to scale through three enabling characteristics: (a) organic nature, (b) modularity, and (c) micro-scalability.
In this paper we discuss how microfranchising can solve many of the problems of traditional approaches to introducing innovations in emerging economies, and we describe as case studies two microfranchise organizations offering ICT (Information and Communication Technology) services in emerging economies: Drishtee and One Roof. At the core, Microfranchising addresses four primary challenges found in emerging economies: (1) the lack of jobs in many communities, (2) the lack of business skills among the poor needed to grow a successful business, (3) the lack of goods and services available to the poor (e.g. lack of efficient technologies), and (4) the lack of MNC’s understanding or ability to operate successfully in this vastly different context. We also illustrate how the concepts involved apply to a broader context of business and government.
Keywords: Knowledge Transfer and Innovation in MNCs/MNEs, Corporate Governance in Emerging Markets, Entrepreneurship in Emerging Markets, Marketing in Emerging Markets, Sustainable Development, Technology Transfer, Microfranchises
Yep, yet another super-cool thing you’re involved in that I didn’t know about!
From a public health perspective, I’ve read of microfranchises that fulfill yet another essential service in many developing areas- the selling of needed preventative health products (not ones that prevent health, but that prevent bad health, I guess:) that are typically not available to the very poor- such as businesses that sell malaria bednets, medicines, pesticides, etc. In addition to providing a great business opportunity, it also seems to be more effective in getting people to use the products (since they spent their money to buy them), then when they are just handed them.
So all-around kudos to microfranchising!
Clint, did you publish the paper on innovations in microfranchising? If so, can you send me the citation? Thanks
It was published in the proceedings of that conference, and then an updated version was accepted for publication as a chapter in a book that will soon come out called
“Microfranchising: How Social Entrepreneurs are Building a New Road to Development” Edited by Nick Sireau