CK Prahalad - Visionary of Global Management Passes at 68

On occassion we are fortunate and benefit from the insights and work of special people. When they pass it is noteworthy and sad. Such is the case with the distringuished professor CK Prahalad, who was internationally recognized for his research in corporate strategy and the best ways top management can navigate the often-complex waters of running large, multinational corporations.

As a Paul and Ruth McCracken Distinguished University Professor of Strategy in the Ross School of Business, Prahalad was a well-respected and deeply admired member of the community, both as an expert in his field and as a teacher. In 2009, he received the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman — an award given by the president of India to men and women who make exceptional and praiseworthy contributions in their respective fields. In the same year, the Indian government honored Prahalad with the Padma Bushan — the third highest civilian award in India — for his distinguished service to the nation. The Times of the United Kindom also named Prahalad the most influential business thinker on its The Thinkers 50 List in October 2009.

For many reasons this Harvard professor and author attained notarity. Among many publications, he had several international bestselling books, including “Competing for the Future,” “The Future of Competition” and “The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty through Profits.” A visionary who saw the unique contributions the emerging global middle class is and will have on the world, he once was quoted as saying:

If we stop thinking of the poor as victims or as a burden and start recognizing them as resilient and creative entrepreneurs and value-conscious consumers, a whole new world of opportunity will open up.



Innovation - It's Up To Us To Remove The Barriers To Progress

C.K. Prahalad, author of The New Age of Innovation, Driving Co-Created Value Through Global Networks, among other books, makes a very important observation in a recent interview. He says, " the competitive landscape is morphing...creating a new way of thinking. Current innovation literature is based largely on the legacy of the industrial age." In other words many leaders have not seen the opportunity of new innovation because they continue to define opportunity via vanished industrial paradigms. C.K. is right. In my experience most leadership creates the barriers to progress because they are too rooted in the past and therefore leaders can't see or understand the foundations of the future. The good news is that CK and his book addresses this and other issues to lay a foundation for how organization can change to focus on new solutions that indeed create value aligned with the modality of the new world.

His "one consumer at a time" by delivering personalized experience or  as he terms it "N=1"; and his "R=G" concept, wherein an orchestration of resources from a wide variety of people and organizations are used to deliver value, are key concepts to adopt for creating value in our new world.

CK notes two shifts necessary to grasp the innovation oportunity. The first is the way we look at the world. Leadership must accept it is going to change. You have to have a point of view about the future when evaluating the present. You cannot anchor yourself in the past. The second needed shift is  that leaders must come to terms with the dominant logic they have relied upon in order to rid themselves of past logic to embrace the new.

Watch CK's Businessweek interviews below. These are insightful and helpful in understanding more about how businesses can adopt N=1 and R=G concepts to progress rapidly and effectively through innovation.