Many Western multinationals expect to find most of their future growth in emerging economies. But they have frequently struggled to exploit the opportunity, relentlessly cutting costs and accepting profit margins close to zero. The problem, say the authors, who are all with the innovation consultancy Innosight, is not that these companies can’t create viable offerings but that simply transplanting their domestic business models to the new markets won’t work.
They must devise fundamentally new models—by identifying an important unmet job consumers need to do; performing that job profitably at a price the customer will pay; and carefully implementing and evolving the model by constantly testing assumptions and making adjustments.
Drawing on their experience investing in, incubating, and consulting for companies that have created 20 new business models in developing markets, the authors describe the vast potential demand represented by the “middle market” in emerging economies—the millions of people who have the desire and wherewithal to pay for goods and services, from refrigeration to clothes washing to money transfers, that will help them do the “jobs” no current offering adequately can.