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Business model innovation: Learning from a high-tech-low-fee medical healthcare model for the BOP

Jaqueline Pels (Department of Marketing, Torcuato Di Tella University, Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Tomás Andrés Kidd (Torcuato Di Tella University, Buenos Aires, Argentina)

International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing

ISSN: 1750-6123

Article publication date: 7 September 2015




The purpose of this paper is to develop a framework that expands business model innovation literature by including a social goal, the emerging markets (EMs) environmental characteristics and adopting a bottom-up perspective.


This paper draws on a single-case study. Sistema Ser/CEGIN (SER–CEGIN) is an Argentine social business that offers high-quality medical healthcare to BOP users.


The paper presents a new conceptualization on business model innovation that includes three dimensions: firm-centric, environment and customer-centric. The framework incorporates to the traditional framework on business model innovation, the social profit equation, the general and task environment and the end-user, as well as the dynamics between them.

Research limitations/implications

While the authors acknowledge the importance of studying the components of the business model operating levels (economic, operational and strategic) to determine the type of business model innovation (revenue, enterprise and industrial), the framework incoporates the environment and customer-centric dimension. The suggested framework opens new streams of research both for the innovation business model literature as well as for the EMs – bottom of the pyramid (BOP) literature.

Practical implications

To achieve economic and social goals, particularly in the BOP, firms need to adopt a bottom-up approach to understand the components of their business model that need to be modified.


The paper proposes a novel business model innovation conceptualization which is useful for both researches to better study business models in the BOP and for firms to successfully operate in the BOP.



The authors want to thank Dr Jorge Gronda for his time and generosity by providing us with invaluable material to study the SER–CEGIN case; Natalia Gimena Martinez, research assistant at the Di Tella Business School, for helping us with the case history of SER–CEGIN and the comparative work between the case; and the traditional public and private healthcare model.


Pels, J. and Kidd, T.A. (2015), "Business model innovation: Learning from a high-tech-low-fee medical healthcare model for the BOP", International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing, Vol. 9 No. 3, pp. 200-218.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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