Comparing design processes for the BOP and TOP markets

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPaper in conference proceeding


The base (BOP) and the top (TOP) of the world income pyramid represent the poor people and the people from developed countries, respectively. About two-fifths of the world population can be categorized as poor. Poverty is a trap because children born to poor parents are likely to grow up to be poor adults. In recent years, a poverty reduction approach that combines business development with poverty alleviation has received attention. The design of products for the BOP is an important ingredient of this poverty reduction approach. While companies are beginning to address the product needs of the BOP, there is limited practical and theoretical knowledge to support them. The current understanding of the design for the BOP is limited. This study, using a protocol analysis, compared the design processes for the BOP and TOP markets. The results indicate the differences between the design processes for these markets in terms of the design strategy employed by the designers (i.e. problem driven, solution driven strategy), their requirements handling behaviour, and their information behaviour. We have discussed the implications of the findings for design practice and education.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
  • Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified


  • Design for the Base of the Pyramid, Design process, Human behaviour in design, Sustainability, Protocol analysis
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationICED
PublisherDesign for Harmonies
ISBN (Print)978-1-904670-44-5
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Publication categoryResearch
Event19th International Conference on Engineering Design - ICED'13 - Seoul, Korea, Republic of
Duration: 2013 Aug 192013 Aug 22

Publication series

ISSN (Print)2220-4334
ISSN (Electronic)2220-4342


Conference19th International Conference on Engineering Design - ICED'13
CountryKorea, Republic of