BoP Guru Named World’s Top Business Thinker
Friday, October 23, 2009
Few management thinkers have the ability to come up with one winning idea after another. C.K. Prahalad is a rare exception. He has the remarkable ability to be ahead of the times. Look at any of his key ideas — be it core competence, co-creation or the bottom of the pyramid — Prahalad’s influence on the study and practise of management has been immense.
It is no wonder then that for the second time in a row, the Indian-born management guru has earned the distinction of being the most influential management thinker alive according to the Thinkers 50, a biennial ranking of the top 50 business and management thought leaders in the world, brought out by the UK-based Suntop Media. Prahalad first topped the Thinkers 50 in 2007, unseating the formidable strategy don Michael Porter. Malcolm Gladwell, the author of Tipping Point, Blink and the more recent Outliers, came in at No. 2, while Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman came in at No. 3.
The 68-year-old Prahalad is on an exciting new journey these days. Having been an avid researcher for almost four decades now, Prahalad is looking for new knowledge at the intersection of various themes he has dealt with. “My research [these days] is focussed on innovation opportunities that lie at the intersection of inclusive growth [i.e. the bottom of the pyramid], sustainability, connectivity [a theme explored in the books The Future of Competition and The New Age of Innovation] and globalisation [again, a theme explored in The Multinational Mission]. This intersection will provide opportunities for new governance systems, and an ability to manage volatility,” says Prahalad. He believes that emerging countries like India can take a leadership role here if we focus on this new frontier.
Prahalad’s ascendance to the top of the list signals the growing influence of Indian management thinkers, a trend that first showed up in the 2007 ranking when four Indians — Prahalad, CEO coach Ram Charan, Tuck School of Business’ Vijay Govindarajan and Harvard Business School’s Rakesh Khurana — made it to the top 50.