Coimbatore Krishnarao (CK) Prahalad, one of the world's most influential management thinkers, has died in San Diego, California, aged 68, after a short illness. His death brings a premature end to what was a remarkable and highly productive career. Over the last three decades CK launched radical new ideas which would soon become conventional wisdom.
With Yves Doz, in 1987, he produced one of the first successful analyses of the way multinational companies operate in the modern era (in The Multinational Mission ). With his former pupil Gary Hamel, in the early 1990s, he developed the now unexceptional concept of "core competencies" (in Competing for the Future, 1994). With Venkat Ramaswamy, in 2004, he explained how the new world of interconnected business was transforming the way companies had to deal with their customers, a process they called "co-creation" (in The Future of Competition.
And perhaps most significantly of all, also in 2004, he published The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, a book that challenged global business to consider serving the billions of people earning only a few dollars a day. In fast-developing markets all around the world, CK's doctrine now holds sway. More than any other figure, he has provided a manifesto for how global business might prosper.
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