There is indeed a path forward, but as always with important business and social change, the path is a challenging climb. Through our research we’ve identified three broad steps that companies can take to help improve their chances of success with an IBI. (See Figure 3.) Inclusive business initiatives: three steps to overcome barriers to scale First, understand the stakeholder-driven processes that are relevant to the success of an inclusive business initiative. Second, identify how each of the processes compiled can help you achieve robust scale (independently or through combinations) and assess their sensitivity to local market conditions. Third, design actions to leverage stakeholders’ strengths linked with processes critical to deepening localization and build scale.
To scale an inclusive venture, companies must understand and enable key processes and make the most of stakeholders’ strengths.
Our global research suggests six potential processes: 1. Co-creation with local communities 2. Collaboration with NGOs and small entreprenuers 3. Collaboration with local governments 4. A balanced regulatory environment 5. Flexible organizational structures 6. Top leadership buy-in Using qualitative comparative analysis techniques on a sample of 18 IBIs across five emerging economies, we found the following: • Leadership buy-in for an IBI is almost always required across geographies and therefore is location agnostic. • Co-creation with communities does not lead to economies of scale unless it is simultaneously accompanied by government support (in the form of collaboration and a balanced regulatory environment). • Collaboration with NGOs or small entrepreneurs does not result in economies of scale if it is not complemented by reforms in organizational structure. Our analysis suggests that the following actions can help companies effectively leverage stakeholders’ strengths: Leveraging top leadership buy-in to drive scale: • Encourage top leaders to have a personal stake in building IBI scalability. • Prevent too much focus on near-term bottom line. • Get top leadership to allocate right talent to the IBI. Leveraging government support and regulation to co-create with communities: • Collaborate with governments committed to implementing IBI-friendly decisions. • Use government regulation to develop ‘win-win-win’ programs. Scaling with NGOs/small entrepreneurs through organizational structure reform: • Reform organizational architecture. • Establish in-house platforms to facilitate complementary partnerships. • partner with authentic NGOs