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‘You cannot lead unless you are future-oriented’ – 35 quotes from business guru C.K. Prahalad

By | Madan Mohan Rao – yourstory.com

Last year marked the five-year death anniversary of C.K. Prahalad, widely recognised as one of the world’s 10 most influential management gurus. He was twice ranked the world’s most influential business thinker in 2007 and 2009, by the Thinkers50 list of the top management thought leaders in the world.

Coimbatore Krishnarao Prahalad (known as ‘CK’ among friends) was born in 1941 in Tamil Nadu, where he studied at a local Tamil-medium school. He graduated from Loyola College in Chennai, University of Madras, IIM Ahmedabad and Harvard Business School. His path-breaking books include ‘The New Age of Innovation,’ ‘The Future of Competition,’ ‘The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP),’ and ‘Competing for the Future.’ He received the Distinguished University Professor award from the University of Michigan, Faculty Pioneer Lifetime Achievement Award from the Aspen Institute and the Lal Bahadur Shastri Award for Excellence in Management.

Prahalad successfully bridged the world of academia and business leadership, and served on several corporate boards, including NCR Corporation, Hindustan Unilever and TVS Capital. He consulted for a range of companies such as Oracle and AT&T, and played an important role in the revitalisation of companies like Philips.

A true patriot of India, he traveled across the country for decades, delivering inspirational talks to business leaders and college students alike. He mentored and consulted for many of India’s business leaders and helped set ambitious targets and visions for industry bodies like CII, AssoCham, FICCI, TiE and NASSCOM. His vision document for India@75 (download PDF here) is a must-read for all those interested in the opportunities, challenges and roadmaps for India in year 2022.

Prahalad was a strong champion of entrepreneurial and inclusive approaches as a solution for economic and social problems in emerging economies like India, and his seminal work has been captured in the book ‘C.K. Prahalad: The Mind of the Futurist’ by Benedict Paramanand. I recall attending Prahalad’s mesmerising talks at TiE events in Bangalore and Delhi, and his workshop at IIIT-Bangalore on ‘India as a Source of Managerial Innovations: A Researcher’s Candy Store?’

We share here a sample of Prahalad’s 35 quotes, and celebrate his dedication to the spirit of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship.

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