Marketing Technological Innovation to LDCs: Lessons from One Laptop Per Child

by Betsy Gelb, Emmanuel Yujuico



A technological innovation designed for a cause that is popular worldwide, the education of children in less developed countries, offers a cautionary tale relevant to marketers and to those hoping to employ information and communication technologies as development tools. One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) had financial support and sophisticated designers, but its priorities were misaligned with those of the governments to which it was marketed. Specifically, it failed to meet the purchasing criteria of governments in developing nations. Innovators need to downplay innovation in design, reduce cultural mismatches, and market not to governments but to the users themselves. They need to use their value net of customers, suppliers, complementary organizations, and even competitors to assist in both product development and distribution.

California Management Review

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Published at Berkeley Haas for more than sixty years, California Management Review seeks to share knowledge that challenges convention and shows a better way of doing business.

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