Founder and Managing Director
Meeting the needs of underserved populations can create enormous value for businesses and society, but only if products are genuinely aligned with the needs and capabilities of the people being served. Conventional business practices often overlook the opportunities hidden in unconventional markets, while corporate responsibility rarely looks beyond a company's own operations.
As my colleague Professor Michael E. Porter and I recently wrote in Harvard Business Review, innovative companies like HP have moved beyond these conventional limitations to embrace the idea of creating shared value. A shared-value approach initiates policies and practices that create economic benefits for companies, while simultaneously improving social and environmental conditions. Companies that pursue shared value have recognized that today's urgent societal needs also define new market opportunities that can propel the next wave of global growth.
Technology can play an enormous role in shared-value creation around the world. Solutions such as SiteOnMobile, the DreamScreen400, and the medication authentication service recently pioneered by HP were all developed specifically to meet the needs of underserved markets. These innovations can connect individuals to critical information, including weather predictions vital to their crops, educational content for their children, and health information that can save lives.
HP's strategy to co-create products in their local markets, rather than just adapting products developed for markets in Europe and the United States, ensures that genuine value is created for an entirely new segment of customers. Products like these not only expand markets but play a crucial role in helping families from all over the world connect to information and lead healthier and more productive lives.