GIM Database

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Business Sector


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Role of the Poor

Millenium Development Goals





Case-Based Methodology

The first report, Creating Value for All, is based on the analysis of 50 case studies across sectors, regions and types of company. The development of the analytical framework and messages of the report followed an inductive approach. The guiding question for the report was how to make business work with the poor and for the benefit of business and the poor alike. To identify business strategies that work, the approach was to learn from businesses that already include the poor successfully. The goal was to identify patterns and insights beyond the individual case study without relying on any preconceived hypotheses.

The research methodology can be described as a multiple case study research design that follows several stages:

1)      Select group of highly qualified Research Fellows from local academic institutions;

2)      Organize collective capacity building exercise and co-select cases from global database;

3)      Co-design a common research protocol with specific research questions;

4)      Conduct case studies based on both primary (interviews, field visits) and secondary sources;

5)      Undertake thorough iterative review process with external experts;

6)      Analyse the evidence and look for patterns (through manual database or professional research software);

7)      Interpret findings to develop conclusions and recommendations.

8)      Review of the existing literature is also an important part of the process in order to build on the work of others.


Design of the GIM Strategy Matrix

Based on the descriptions from the cases, constraints and solutions were clustered according to common themes. Since the focus of the research was to identify ways of doing business with the poor, only those constraints that are particular to the context of poverty were considered. Those are referred to as ‘structural constraints’, because they arise from the particular structural conditions of rural villages and urban slums where the poor live. Typical business constraints, such as those involved in targeting a new group of consumers or in starting up a business in a competitive environment, were filtered out. In this way, a pattern emerged where all the observed structural challenges could be subsumed under five areas of constraints and all the innovations could be subsumed under five solution strategies. Furthermore, the case inventory includes examples for each combination of one of the five areas of constraints with one of the five solution strategies. These relationships can be illustrated in a matrix of constraints and strategies. This matrix is the analytical framework of the report Creating Value for All.


Design of the Market Heat Maps

There are three key steps in constructing a market heat map: measuring the total number of possible poor consumers, measuring the total number of poor consumers with access to a good or service, and identifying and measuring the contributions of different actors on the supply side.

  • Step 1. Measure possible demand for a good or service within a market. There are a number of ways to approach this, since different metrics can be appropriate depending on what market is examined. As a starting point to reflect demand by the poor, one takes the total number of potential poor consumers in the market.
  • Step 2. Measure how much access possible poor consumers have to the good or service. Access can be interpreted in several different ways with reference to different issues (such as affordability or geographic proximity). For the heat maps, the measure of access used is the number of poor individuals or households now consuming or using a good or service.
  • Step 3. Provide additional information. This last step disaggregates the information in Step 2. It provides additional information on the relative shares of the different agents that together constitute total current supply.