Alternative marketplace strategies


This post is to further explore the alternative marketplace offered by international development opportunities.


In the aftermath of C.K Prahlad’s article, I am living its actualization. In my view, the bottom of the pyramid is getting truly energized now. My context is India largely (as is Prahlad’s in this article) and I wish to share my understanding and support for his rhetoric with a few current examples.


My sense and observation in my country is witness to the fact of the bottom of the pyramid being empowered albeit by large Indian corporations (equivalent in size to an MNC, but more local in context). These corporations are building their products and services for the bottom of the pyramid and it is reaping them dividends. India lives in her villages still and corporations are recognizing the power of rural India.


CASE : e-choupal – The details of the groundbreaking intervention can be read here


ITC an Indian tobacco giant brought technology to the doorstep of the farmers and empowered them in their own playing field by setting up computer kiosks called e-choupals (meeting place). The computer kiosks were set up to monitor market prices so the farmer no longer bowed to extractions from “middlemen” (and age-old ill in the Indian village system) and sold their produce directly to the wholesale market therefore getting a better price. Technology at their doorstep enabled them to understand how to produce a better crop – about the whole science and engg of farming etc. What does ITC get in return? ITC has diversified into Packaged Foods (in addition to Tobacco) and they buy good quality produce directly from the farmers which is then packaged and sold in the open market. ITC leverages its existing channels to get to the end consumer.


This link holds some more details of e-choupal. I want to draw your attention to the line “Let’s put India first” – that came from a home corporation having the vision to revolutionise!


CASE: Cellular technology. Rural India has for decades languished with no telephone connectivity – the cell phones have now done the trick. Price and market share wars continue to rage, but a local corporation (Reliance) has beaten the price to an unbelievable low – it now becomes affordable for the bottom of the pyramid. What is more, in their current advertising campaign for its services, another Indian cellular corporation showcases podcasts (without mentioning jargon) on cell phones to educate the rural children (a quiet transformation!)


Case BPOs move to Rural India:’s%20Potential.htm


Case – Elections: last elections were lost by the ruling party despite the GDP growth and their election slogan “India Shining” because rural India felt shortchanged (and that is where the votes are) – they only had a small slice of the “India Shining” cake!


Case Microcredit – As we all know, Prof Mohd Yunus of Bangladesh went on to get the Nobel Prize!


Role of MNCs – Following rather than leading.


Role of Development agencies and NGOs – A lot of good work being done – tie-ups with local corporations (as is happening) will provide required direction and impact.


This has become longer than I had expected. Guess précis writing isn’t my forte!


Inviting thoughts, views, other experiences…



September 23, 2008   6 Comments

Google Docs in Plain English

This 2:50 minute video may be helpful to someone. As a new user, it clarified a few things for me.


September 23, 2008   4 Comments

Interesting comparison for those also in ETEC 531

For those of you also taking ETEC 531:

It is interesting to compare the article in ETEC 522 Module 3 Alternative Approaches ( with Stephen Petrina’s paper on Technology and Rights from ETEC 531 Module 3.

The perspectives regarding the role of corporations in third world countries are quite different.

September 23, 2008   6 Comments

Calendar software

This is somewhat related to what we are doing in the course… Does anyone in their district have an inclusive calendering solution that (here’s the wish list) connects to Active Directory, allows everyone to have a calendar, group calendars, has a feature to register for events on the calendar, publishes to the web, works with blackberries and iphone, and of course balances my budget and answers the phone? Well maybe not the last two.

Currently working with Corporate Time (oracle) for most of the admin, student support, and itinerants, but have a couple different solutions for publishing events, no online registration features etc.

If someone has a great solution please comment, or email me at, and I would love to look at it using some of the analysis techniques from the course. If you have an idea on costs as well that would be appreciated!



September 23, 2008   No Comments


eConcordia is an online learning company owned by the Concordia University Foundation.  Check link for more info:

Looking into eConcordia’s market niche is quite interesting for me as it has offered me my very first e-learning experience almost five years ago. 


eConcordia offers some of the same higher education credit courses that are offered by Concordia University in a traditional setting, while also offering non-credit courses, professional development courses.  Additionally, the creation of custom-designed training courses for corporations.


eConcordia offers services:  access and development of courses, development of advanced portals and web application, online tools, web hosting.


The buyer varies depending on who eConcordia is dealing with and what type of service is being offered.  When designing a training course for a specific corporation, or a mandatory credit course for a higher education institution, the learning is being bought for the learner.  However, when an optional course (non-credit, professional development or elective) is designed and offered by a higher education institution, the primary buyer is at the institutional level yet it is still essential that the service is eventually desired/bought by the learner.


eConcordia services are offered in both English and French.  Services are otherwise available world-wide.  A relevant example is eConcordia’s development of a certificate in Canadian Studies to be offered to Internatiaonal Students before they relocate to Canada.  More info: 

Learning Technology Competing with Other Forms of Learning

In servicing Higher Education, eConcordia compliments the traditional established learning system. However, when dealing with corporations, there is a high potential that it is substituting for other forms of learning or even replacing the existing learning systems.

September 23, 2008   4 Comments