The needs of the global sustainable development agenda are both broad and urgent, and innovation models are central to addressing them in a timely, efficient, and scalable manner, from promoting inclusive growth to ensuring the longevity of natural resources to addressing issues across the state of the human condition.
Inclusive businesses—including large multinational corporations (MNCs), social enterprises, and impact investors—recognize that the private sector will increasingly play a lead role in solving problems and closing global sustainability gaps. Such endeavors can cost USD 3-5 trillion annually, according to some estimates,1 although the value that businesses can unlock while in the process is estimated to be in the range of USD 12-15 trillion per year.2 Ideally, thus, this suggests a macro-level business case for trying to do good while doing well.
While the macro-level business case provides a tremendous amount of evidence on the private sector’s role in addressing sustainable development challenges, a bottom-up perspective is also crucial to understanding how much technology can be a force for inclusion, or against it. To this end, researchers at Digital Planet placed a group of private enterprises that leverage digital technology to solve sustainable development challenges under a microscope, building a case study for each of them from a bottom-up perspective.
Through this case study approach, we hope to allow our audience to immerse themselves in an enterprise’s journey, answering the question of how companies in different parts of the world are taking on sustainable development challenges and closing inclusion gaps. In addition, in each case study, we employ “The Nine A’s Framework” to analyze an enterprise’s business model. This original framework is designed to provide an outside-in evaluation of a given company’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as to highlight the opportunities and challenges it faced at the time of the writing. Lastly, this compendium allows for a comparison of the enterprises’ business models, revealing several common themes and learnings that business leaders and entrepreneurs should consider for future actions.
Explore more in our three Beyond Access case studies below. Each one analyzes three companies tackling global challenges: helping smallholder farmers achieve economic security, removing friction to allow strivers access to educational opportunities, and harnessing regenerative approaches to tackle climate change.