The 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