The course is based on the ILO publication (downloadable at https://goo.gl/Vyefhf ) which contains 24 modules divided into four sections:
I. Preparing for Diversification. This introductory section helps managers understand diversification, the opportunities and risks it poses, and how MFIs can prepare themselves to diversify successfully. Module 1 defines product diversification and the concept of a strategic product mix. It explores the many reasons for which MFIs might want to develop new products and markets, but it also raises awareness of the damage diversification can cause. Module 2 then explores how to manage product development, in particular, how to manage the risks inherent in the process. Module 3 focuses on new market development. It explores how managers can use market segmentation to better understand and serve new types of customers.
II. Product Options. MFIs that wish to diversify will find they have many options to choose from. Modules 4 through 13 discuss ten different types of products that MFIs could introduce to expand their outreach. Each module explores the characteristics and requirements of one type of product using examples from MFIs around the world to illustrate variations in the way the product can be delivered. The main challenges and risks associated with each product type are discussed together with examples of the strategies MFIs have used to manage them.
III. Market Segments. Modules 14 through 21 examine eight market segments with significant potential for MFI expansion. Each module explores why a particular segment can be challenging and discusses the products and product adaptations that can help institutions serve the segment more effectively. This section also contains a module on targeted microfinance which considers the more general challenge of serving relatively small or marginalized market segments, such as people with disabilities and individuals living with HIV/AIDS.
IV. Diversifying Successfully. After exploring numerous combinations of products and services that MFIs could offer to better meet the needs of specifi c market segments, this fourth and final section returns to the management agenda. Module 22 looks at the important role of partnerships in helping MFIs of various types to diversify efficiently and effectively. Module 23 focuses on the challenges of delivering a diverse product portfolio. It raises awareness of the issues that need to be dealt with and provides specific suggestions for adapting the institutional culture, redistributing responsibilities, empowering staff, communicating with clients, reengineering systems and managing change. Finally, Module 24 examines the product portfolio management function and the activities through which MFIs can not only create but also maintain a strategic product portfolio over time.
The modules in Sections I and IV of the course are core content, but the modules in Sections II and III are adapted to the needs of each audience. The participant’s manual contains content for all 24 modules.