Gurus

I went to a seminar today given by C.K. Prahalad, author of “The New Age of Innovation“, discussing innovation and strategy. He’s an entertaining speaker, stimulating and teasing the audience.

Much of his speech focussed on the two big insights from his book, summarised as N=1 and R=G.

N=1
One consumer at a time
This encompasses the idea that successful, innovative businesses will customise the consumer experience to an individual level. He pointed to examples such as NikeID, iPod.
R=G
Resources are global
Few companies will have all the resources within the company to create these individual experiences so will rely on other companies and form partnerships

None of this felt new or startling to me, the book was published a year ago – but that’s not it. We’d discussed the same sort of concepts in a class I took at Nyenrode almost 10 years ago.

I found the question session more interesting; when asked about the current crisis his reaction was that we’re seeing a “fundamental reset of the finanical systems” adding that a year ago “no-one would have predicted you’d be able to buy a cup of coffee for the price of three GM shares”. He advised that the only certainty he could see is that we will be doing things differently “you can’t do more of the same to get out of this”.

As with any seminar we were anxious to know what was the takeaway – and the presenter obliging asked him “what should we be doing tomorrow?”

C.K. Prahalad’s answer was “Don’t do anything tomorrow morning”

There’s answer I can use I thought, but he explained that to act without understand was doomed so time needs to be spent analysing, reflecting, thinking. And then when we do act we should “Think Big”, “Start Small” and “Scale Fast”.

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