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The New Global

The New Global is a research and innovation project integrating academic research and private sector business development to co-create frugal and reverse innovations in fast-growing emerging markets. We believe that multi-stakeholder networks are central in co-creating innovations for these complex environments. In our work, we bring together companies (SMEs and MNCs), academia, NGOs and communities from Finland and the target areas.

The project entails multidisciplinary action research addressing complex sustainable challenges and follows the principles of frugal innovation. We take a view on resource constrains – financial, material or institutional – as source of innovation. On site innovation camps with companies and academia take place in emerging markets, and quick prototyping and testing of promising ideas is conducted in the field.

The aim is to study and facilitate developing innovation platforms that can open new business opportunities for inclusive innovations. We hope to contribute to reverse innovation, whereby affordable and resource-efficient innovations developed in emerging markets penetrate markets in developed countries. The first phase of the project is 2014-2015. We will target India, Mexico, and Tanzania in 2014, and expand to other countries in 2015.

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Co-creation of sustainable business at BOP

Research and experience has shown that profitable, poverty reducing business at BOP requires products, services and business models that are needed at and suited to BOP settings. Companies need to innovate these new solutions with local stakeholders, including their potential customers.

This research project (2012-2014) draws on the principles of agile innovation to generate understanding of such innovation processes. Main objectives are to:

  1. analyse the co-creation processes and practices in business projects at BOP
  2. identify best practices and challenges in these processes
  3. make recommendations for enterprises and NGOs

We will investigate two promising and experimental BOP ventures, led by Stora Enso and World Vision, using an action research method. The project is funded by the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (Tekes)

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Sustainable and user-driven innovations (BOP Service)

The BOP Service project (2010-2012) had two main objectives:

  1. To create a new user-driven network promoting innovative and sustainable business enterprise at the BOP, and
  2. To develop an innovation guidebook for user-driven innovation at the BOP for Finnish companies.

Key activities included concrete pilot projects carried out by various stakeholders at BOP markets, research work, development of an inclusive innovation guide, several workshops in Finland and Kenya, analysis of financial instruments, and the development of an operational model for a BOP network in Finland.

The project was coordinated by Aalto University and funded by the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (Tekes) together with the Ministry of Employment and Economy, Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Confederation of Finnish (EK), Finpro and Finnish companies.

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Studying practices among low-income consumers

This project focused on consumer practices related to packaging, mass communication and primary education at the BOP and emerging markets in four continents. The research methodology was ethnographic and data was gathered in Brazil, India, Russia and Tanzania during 2009 and 2010. The objectives of the research were to document and describe practices in these markets and to advance the innovation work of the Finnish forest sector.

The project identified a number of opportunity spaces in the BOP markets. These business and innovation opportunities arose from an analysis of the existing low-income consumer practices.

The project was part of a wider Radical Market Innovation (RAMI) programme and was funded by Tekes and Forest Cluster. The project finished in June 2010 when the final report (PPT presentation), photo gallery and video materials were delivered to the Forest Cluster. The results were also utilized in Innovation Labs for members of the Forest Cluster.

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BOP Innovation project

The BOP Innovation project (2009-2010) focused on studying innovations at the BOP and emerging markets. The objective was to offer Finnish innovation policy actors' a deeper understanding of innovation processes aiming to develop socially responsible solutions targeted at low-income markets.

Furthermore, the project sought to encourage relevant Finnish stakeholders to better recognize innovation opportunities in the BOP markets. The project was funded by National Innovation Agency, Tekes.

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