I was re-reading some of CK’s books recently, and rediscovered his sheer genius. The ability of the man to foresee trends in global ecosystems, trade, value chains, customer re-definitions, collaborations, organisational networking etc., was unique.

I consider CK as a futurist with an even more futuristic vision. His ability to take you into a new world, only to show

CK Prahalad. 1941 - 2010 - Eternity

you your present, was, simply put, sensational. I have never had the good fortune of either learning under him, or meeting him, or even having seen him from afar in the flesh – yet, he looms large in my thoughts, pervades every fibre of my learning and thinking faculties and guides me like an ever-luminous light from the heavens. He passed on into his future world, from where I know he must be watching, guiding, mentoring, and teaching the heavens – on how to create a newer earth, a newer planet.

I share with you some of his words – words, that I chanced upon when I was reading the blogs of some mighty management thinkers who have worked with, and shared CK’s presence, and continue to feel his halo shining on them. Read the rest of this entry »

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Commented on “HBR Production”

Posted: June 9, 2010 by Ananth in Business Models
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The copycat model has also worked effectively in IT services – where almost every player decided to set-up low cost bases in India, South America, Eastern Europe etc. However, the issue that I see in the IT industry is that the follower (the copycat) didn’t really do anything to innovate – he simply adopted the same model – and the only “innovation” (if you can call it that), was to scale their operations – and bring in a multiplier effect to top and bottom line revenues.

With the recession, and with cash drying up, customers are now seeking more from their IT vendor – and that means the IT vendor needs to shore up serious skill sets – in order to provide services relating to improvements in business process, optimisation of the value chain etc. And unfortunately, a host of these IT vendors are caught off-guard – as they simply haven’t planned for the future – and now there is an urgency to BUY innovation. And the issue with such an acquisition is that the organisational fabric simply does not allow for innovative flexibility, and the other problem being the lack of ability to SCALE such buy-outs.

I believe that innovation, lies in contexts. Copycats did copy – but they “contextualised” the copy into their value chains. This contextualisation led to design improvements, process improvements etc. In the end, it is “contextualisation to your and your customer’s value chain” that drives innovation – not merely copying an idea or product, and not merely inventing and idea or product.

Originally posted as a comment
by ananth999
on HBR Production using DISQUS.

In my view, Innovation in today’s accelerating world, be it in tech or non-tech, must happen at the business model level. The ability to see old things in new ways, the ability to re-think, re-work, re-use our existing assets into newer dimensions is where innovation will move into. We have gone through a 100+ years of inventions and not all of them have been used. Do we need more inventions, or do we need an environment where people’s lives can become easier to live in? Any product, process, or service must evidently be used to make life easier. Read the rest of this entry »

Much has been discussed and said about having a local market to spawn innovation. Industry has also said that it is exceedingly difficult for Indian companies to think, ideate, and create a globally fitting solution (and I focus my discussion here to the IT sector). The argument that industry uses is something like – you must innovate only for a local market and in this context, all innovation must be focussed on the Indian market only. We cannot compete with global players!

If the market argument were true, and “global players” HAD adopted the same mantra, then I guess the world would only be a local space! Why is it that a Microsoft, SAP, Oracle, etc, seem to find “global” markets with such systematic impunity, whereas the Indian IT industry, touted as the world’s largest IT workforce, does not seem to find a foot hold in that very space? Read the rest of this entry »

“Companies are actually living organisms, not machines. We keep bringing in mechanics, when what we need are gardeners.” ~ Peter Senge

Sustainable innovation, the endless effort to find a better way, cannot be achieved by robotically lining up best practices and imitating them. The real catalyzing agent for renewable innovation is the ground from which these best practices spring — the confluence of purpose, people, and processes better known as culture.

From where will the next wave of groundbreaking innovation come? Not from organizations mechanically mimicking each other’s best practices, but from organizations with the authentic commitment to take their stand on ground that has been cultivated for breakthrough.

Do you have it in you? Do you live, breathe, and think this culture? Take this survey to find out.

What is Innovation? There has been much talk about this in the recent past. However, is the concept of corporate innovation new? Is this merely old wine in new bottle? Is it as elusive as it is perceived to be?

Let’s take a leaf from the past. About 1625, Sir Francis Bacon magnificently described an organization that was totally innovation oriented in the ideal world of Nova Atlantis.

For the several employments and offices of our fellows, we have twelve that sail into foreign countries under the names of other nations (for our own we conceal), who bring us the books and abstracts, and patterns of experiments of all other parts. These we call merchants of light.

We have three that collect the experiments which are in all books. These we call depredators.

We have three that collect the experiments of all mechanical arts, and also of liberal sciences, and also of practices which are not brought into arts. These we call mystery–men.

We have three that try new experiments, such as themselves think good. These we call pioneers or miners.

We have three that draw the experiments of the former four into titles and tables, to give the better light for the drawing of observations and axioms out of them. These we call compilers.

We have three that bend themselves, looking into the experiments of their fellows, and cast about how to draw out of them things of use and practice for man’s life and knowledge, as well for works as for plain demonstration of causes, means of natural divinations, and the easy and clear discovery of the virtues and parts of bodies. These we call dowry–men or benefactors.

Then after divers meetings and consults of our whole number, to consider of the former labours and collections, we have three that take care out of them to direct new experiments, of a higher light, more penetrating into nature than the former. These we call lamps.

Lastly, we have three that raise the former discoveries by experiments into greater observations, axioms, and aphorisms. These we call interpreters of nature.

We have three others that do execute the experiments so directed, and report them. These we call inoculators. We have also, as you must think, novices and apprentices, that the succession of the former employed men do not fail; beside a great number of servants and attendants, men and women. And this we do also: We have consultations, which of the inventions and experiences which we have discovered shall be published, and which not: and take all an oath of secrecy for the concealing of those which we think fit to keep secret: though, some of those we do reveal sometimes to the State, and some not.