Sustainable Design









Supporting SMEs in designing sustainable business models for energy access for the BoP: a strategic design tool

Silvia Emili, Fabrizio Ceschin, David Harrison

Brunel University

Keywords: Product-Service Systems (PSS), Distributed Renewable Energy (DRE), Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP), strategic design tool


About 1.4 billion people from the Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP) currently lack sustainable energy services. In these contexts, SMEs and practitioners need to combine feasible technical solutions and appropriate business models. Distributed Renewable Energy (DRE) systems emerge as possible solution to provide small-scale and locally based electricity. DRE can be implemented with sustainable business models (Product-Service Systems – PSS) that shift the business focus from selling products to providing a combination of products and services that are able to fulfil customers’ satisfaction. In this paper we explore the combination of DRE and PSS by presenting a strategic design tool that aims at supporting SMEs and practitioners in designing sustainable business models for energy in the BoP. The tool finds several applications which have been tested with companies and practitioners in South Africa and Botswana. The new version of the tool is then presented to support idea- generation for designing business models for energy access for the BoP.

This paper is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence.

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Cite this paper: Emili, S., Ceschin, F., Harrison, D. (2016) Supporting SMEs In Designing Sustainable Business Models For Energy Access For the BoP: A Strategic Design Tool. Proceedings of DRS 2016, Design Research Society 50th Anniversary Conference. Brighton, UK, 27–30 June 2016.

This paper will be presented at DRS2016, find it in the conference programme

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