CK Prahlad and His Dream of India

C.K. Prahalad died on last Friday. To me, who knew him only through his writings, his books and articles in magazines, through the writings of others about him in media, and through his speeches on small screens, the news was shocking. The media in India particularly covered the sad news pretty well. Arun Maira and many in industry have mourned the loss of CK and what it means for India. All these years, I have kept on saying why some of the professors of IIMs or other institutions didn’t become as popular as CK in the industry.

Very few thinkers are so much obsessive about the potentials of India as CK was and those with a clear and realistic roadmap for India’s growth as of CK are even scarcer.

CK had a dream to see India at top among the nations. He wanted that India must become the manufacturing hub for the world, creating innovative products with innovative processes in innovative forms of enterprise. As reported, in recent years CK had devoted himself to developing a manufacturing strategy for India built on its core competences.

His visions for India@75 were remarkable and can be read at http://www.indiaat75.in/. I had written India @75 too, as CK Prahlad dreamt and shared with the who’s who of India.
CK also had clear ideas about the weakness of India. CK was one who fixed up the cost of corruption to India and declared that it could exceed Rs 250,000 crore. It stunned those in power.

Prahalad had an immense confidence in the capability of individual Indians and Indian companies:

For example, “your friendly neighbourhood kirana store owner knows exactly what your needs are; your database is in his head. He knows whether you are creditworthy, whether you have upgraded your soap brand; how many family members you have and their eating habits. He is the ultimate CEO. I want this incredible personalized service to be combined with the efficiencies of mass production. That’s co-creation.”


CK could talk profusely about the success stories of Indian business models. Aravind Eye Hospital, Bank of MaduraAmul and ITC’s E-Choupal were few of his all-time favourite brands. CK helped in building many Indian brands through his speeches at different national and international fore and his writings and books- “The Core Competence of the Corporation” (Harvard Business Review, May-June, 1990), “Competing for the Future” (with Gary Hamel), 1994, “The Future of Competition,” (with Venkat Ramaswamy), 2004 and “The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid”.

Amul distributes seven million litres of milk sourced from 2.2 million suppliers every day. In a unique way, farmers are being linked to global markets. It is a classic example of personalized globalization, something you won’t find anywhere in the world.

I shall agree with those who say that making his vision of India, particularly India @75 a reality will be our greatest tribute to CK, the patriot.

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