William Davidson Institute


The William Davidson Institute (WDI) is a non-profit research and educational institute established at the University of Michigan. Through a unique structure that integrates research, educational outreach, field-based collaborations, and development consulting services, WDI creates long-term value for academic institutions, partner organizations, and donor agencies active in emerging markets. WDI also provides a forum for academics, policy makers, business leaders, and development experts to enhance their understanding of these economies.  WDI runs several research initiatives, including the Base of the Pyramid research Initiative.

The Base of the Pyramid (BoP) Initiative is a global leader in exploring the implications of the BoP Perspective for organizational strategy and poverty alleviation. Our expertise lies in a deep understanding of the unique dimensions of the BoP Perspective, an ability to evaluate the full range of poverty alleviation impacts of BoP ventures, and a collaborative approach to creating business models that incorporates the voices of those at the base of the pyramid.

WDI also operates Nextbillion.net, a website and blog bringing together the community of business leaders, social entrepreneurs, NGOs, policy makers and academics who want to explore the connection between development and enterprise.

Their Impact Sourcing Work

The newly emerging Impact Sourcing space shows promise as an opportunity to use outsourcing/offshoring as a means for enhancing the livelihoods of poor and vulnerable communities in the base of the pyramid by creating steady jobs and increasing social welfare. However, more information is required to better understand and facilitate this Impact Sourcing opportunity.  WDI has partnered with the Rockefeller Foundation to explore the existing and potential IS opportunity across approximately 20 outsourcing countries. WDI performed secondary and field research to provide the Rockefeller Foundation with a roadmap that identifies the BPO tasks that could be transitioned to workers from poor and vulnerable communities, a summary of opportunities across geographic locations in which to promote new or leverage the existing work of industry players, and strategies for engaging the BoP with employment opportunities.

WDI was selected as an impact sourcing research partner because of its strengths in research related to the globalization of service activities and in doing business at the base of the pyramid. WDI Executive Director Robert Kennedy (through August 2013) is an expert in the offshoring field and is the author of “The Services Shift: Seizing the Ultimate Offshore Opportunity.” WDI Senior Research Fellow Ted London is an expert in BoP research and data collection, and co-author and editor of “Next Generation Business Strategies for the Base of the Pyramid: New Approaches for Building Mutual Value.”

Coming Soon

Impact Sourcing report published in partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation.