Design for the BOP and TOP markets: Strategies used by the design students

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper, not in 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 aims at exploring the differences between the design strategies used by the industrial design students in designing products for the BOP and TOP markets. The results indicate the differences between their design strategies (i.e. problem driven strategy, solution driven strategy) in designing products for the BOP and TOP markets. We have discussed the implications of the findings for design practice and education. In particular, we have discussed how university-based design projects for the BOP can help in developing students’ different design skills.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

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


  • design strategies, poverty, Base of the Pyramid (BOP), design education, protocol analysis
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2013
Publication categoryResearch
Event15th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education - Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 2013 Sep 52013 Sep 6


Conference15th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education