Next Billion Research

  • Adam Hamilton
  • David Pepper
  • Duncan McNicholl
  • Noura Wahby
  • Samantha Passmore

Despite ongoing innovation, technology developers often do not know potential customers in developing countries. This gap hinders appropriate technology development. ‘Next Billion Research’ (NBR) targets this gap by facilitating direct customer feedback, and gathers information on product distribution in developing countries.

NBR takes technologies and makes them accessible to potential customers in rural areas. Technology prototype points will be established in rural communities and clients can provide sample products that are either sent to these points or 3D printed locally. Users in these communities can then try out products and provide feedback on their experience, even purchasing them if they wish. This feedback is then gathered through both in-person and mobile methods, synthesized by a local manager, and returned to the client to improve product design

Summary of NBR Services

Next Billion Research performs several functions to enable top quality product testing with end users in the developing world:

  • Testing shops: These exist as shop fronts in rural communities where technologies can be sent for prototyping by potential end users. The nature of a shop front allows potential users to self-select into technology adoption. This reduces selection bias to conditions similar to the natural product existing in a market.
  • Gathering prototypes: NBR will work with product developers, who will give a small number of products to NBR, who will rent them out to local end users.
  • Feedback synthesis: NBR will work with local managers to facilitate the product testing and feedback gathering process. This synthesis of direct customer experience sets NBR apart from services that scrape big data, or only send mobile surveys.
  • Local technological networking: NBR can partner with local universities and other start-ups to provide a platform for local product testing.
  • Product sales: End users can choose to purchase the product under a micro-loan, or to return it to test the next one.
  • Selling distribution information: NBR will have an online component holding and selling information on product distribution in rural developing communities and import logistics in developing countries.
  • Trend subscriptions: Product developers can subscribe to long-term data on products and larger trends observed in areas where NBR works.


Get Involved

NBR is presently testing the feasibility of its services in Ghana and Malawi, with potential expansion to Egypt and Kenya. We are also accepting technology prototypes to be tested by rural users. If you have a technology or recommendation for a product to be tested, or are interested in joining the Next Billion Research network, please contact Duncan at

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