Goodbye And Thanks To C. K. Prahalad

File:CK Prahalad WEForum 2009.jpgThe business world suffered a great loss with the recent death of C.K. Prahalad. He was one of the world’s most important management thinkers. His work has heavily influenced my strategic views on the nature of business. 

I first encountered Prahalad’s work at the London Business School in the late 1980’s when I took a course on business strategy with Gary Hamel. We learned about concepts like Core Competencies and Strategic Intent which later became the foundation for award-winning HBR articles and powerful business books.

That class shaped my fundamental thinking about business. It turns out that Hamel and Prahalad worked together on developing those ideas and collaborated on others like Competing For The Future.

Prahalad is probably best known for his book “The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits” which discusses how companies can tap the poor as customers and, as a result, improve the lives of millions of impoverished people in developing countries. Here’s an excerpt from the preface of the book:

What if we mobilized the resources, scale, and scope of large firms to co-create solutions to the problems at the bottom of the pyramid (BOP), those 4 billion people who live on less than $2 a day?… The focus on entrepreneurial activities as an antidote to the current malaise must be on an active, underserved consumer community and a potential for global growth in trade and prosperity as the four to five billion poor become part of a system of inclusive capitalism.

My condolensces go out to Prahalad’s famly and friends, but the entire business community has suffered a loss. 

The bottom line: Thank you C.K. Prahalad, may you rest in peace

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I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (, a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

One thought on “Goodbye And Thanks To C. K. Prahalad”

  1. Thanks for letting us know. Hearing him speak to us about core competencies at a defense / intelligence contractor in 1990 or so, just as the world was changing, was my first exposure to strategic business thinking. The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid was tremendously inspiring. What a loss.

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