Cocreation at the Base of the Pyramid: Reviewing and Organizing the Diverse Conceptualizations

Tytti Nahi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


The base of the pyramid (BOP) approach suggests that business with low-income consumers or producers can simultaneously foster well-being, environmental sustainability, and profits. A central tenet of the BOP approach is cocreation between companies, low-income communities, and other actors. However, recent research has strongly questioned the necessity and feasibility of such cocreation. This article undertakes a systematic review of BOP research on cocreation and finds a considerable range in the proposed participants and purpose of cocreation: Cocreation can refer to a deep process of social transformation or, at the other extreme, arms-length cooperation that merely legitimizes a corporation as a development agent. Drawing on development studies, this review proposes a framework for organizing the diverse conceptualizations, and shows how the framework facilitates elaboration on the necessity and feasibility of cocreation at the BOP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)416-437
Number of pages22
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • base of the pyramid
  • cocreation
  • cross-sector collaboration
  • inclusive business
  • literature review
  • low-income markets
  • open innovation
  • participation
  • poverty reduction
  • subsistence context

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