Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Profitable Market Designing for the Poor

Often new designs of equipment are catering to the rich, using electricity which raises costs and reduces personal labor. However, the poor have the time and labor, but cannot afford the new age technology. An innovative new exhibition called Design for the Other 90%, which displays socially conscious products. Designers are starting to create products that can improve the life of the very poor as well as make money. Martin Fisher and Paul Polak are both working to create pumps, irrigation systems and other equipment for small poor farms. Some modern western technology inventions do not work in the rural towns, and so there needs to be a market of products that will. Their idea is to create products that will help the poor help themselves. They believe that you cannot donate people out of poverty, that you must invest in them and they must invest in themselves in order to see any change in the situation. They believe by designing these simple products it will create a more sustainable development and lead these countries' away from dependency on donations. There is an entire market out there for developing products for the poor that is being missed out on, but in reality this is a market that can help everybody; both business and the poor.
-Sara Frodge