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Transcending the pyramid: opportunity co-creation for social innovation

De Silva, Muthu, Khan, Zaheer, Vorley, Tim, Zeng, Jing (2020) Transcending the pyramid: opportunity co-creation for social innovation. Industrial Marketing Management, 89 . pp. 471-486. ISSN 0019-8501. (doi:10.1016/j.indmarman.2019.12.001) (KAR id:79234)


There is a lack of understanding of how social enterprises with their partners co-create opportunities to concurrently generate both social and economic value across the pyramid. Drawing on evidence from multiple case-studies, this paper addresses this gap to further our understanding of opportunity co-creation by social enterprises. We find that social enterprises co-create opportunities to simultaneously generate social and economic value with both the top of the pyramid (TOP) and bottom of the pyramid (BOP) partners; we thus call them Transcending Pyramid Social Enterprises (TPSEs). Opportunity co-creation comprises commercialising the social opportunity characteristics of prevalence, relevance, and accessibility to create both the demand and supply sides of a market. Supply side opportunity co-creation involves fulfilling institutional voids, developing relational capital with the BOP, and meeting the needs of the BOP. Demand side opportunity co-creation involves generating market access to the TOP, raising awareness of value generated by TPSEs, and fulfilling the needs of TOP customers. Opportunity co-creation with BOP and TOP partners not only enables social enterprises to overcome their resource barriers, but also enables them to generate dual value across the pyramid, thus benefiting multiple stakeholders. Co-created opportunities are thus capable of both addressing the economic and social and/or environmental issues of the BOP and meeting the altruistic and consumption needs of the TOP. The implications for social enterprises, their partners, and policy makers are discussed.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/j.indmarman.2019.12.001
Uncontrolled keywords: social enterprises; opportunity co-creation; relationships; bottom of the pyramid; emerging economies; case study
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5415 Marketing
Divisions: Divisions > Kent Business School - Division > Department of Marketing, Entrepreneurship and International Business
Depositing User: Maggie Zeng
Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2019 12:15 UTC
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2021 00:00 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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