Food vendor in Bhopal, India, is typical of millions of rural residents in developing countries who cannot earn enough to survive on their tiny village plots.

The Business Solution to Poverty

Designing Products and Services for Three Billion New Customers

By Paul Polak and Mal Warwick


Introduction: Eight Keys to Ending Poverty

PART ONE: Only Business Can End Poverty

1. “The Poor Are Very Different from You and Me”

2. What Is Poverty?

3. What Can Government and Philanthropy Do?

4. Why Business Is Best Equipped to Fight Global Poverty

PART TWO: Zero-Based Design and the Bottom Billions

5. What to Do Before You Launch Your Business

6. The Ruthless Pursuit of Affordability

7. Zero-Based Design in Practice: Low-Cost Drip Irrigation

8. Design for the Market

9. Zero-Based Design in Practice: A Cautionary Tale

10. Design for Scale

11. Zero-Based Design in Practice: Safe Drinking Water for Small Villages

12. Design for Delivery the Last 500 Feet

13. Building a Mission-Driven Global Business

PART THREE: Opportunities Abound

14. It’s Your Turn Now


What We Say to Critics




About the Authors

Discussion Guide