C. K. Prahalad, who holds the Harvey C Fruehauf chair of Business Administration at the University of Michigan, has been named #1 of the top 50 business thinkers in the world by the Times. Professor Prahald is best known for his book The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits (Wharton School Publishing), in which he argues compellingly that market promise lies most in the “aspiring poor” of the developing world:
The real source of market promise is not the wealthy few in the developing world, or even the emerging middle-income consumers. It is the billions of aspiring poor who are joining the market economy for the first time” [Prahalad] explains. A market at the bottom of the pyramid could be co-created by multi-national and domestic industry, non-governmental organisations and, most importantly, the poor themselves. They would then have choice over their lives and the products they use. He points to Hindustan Lever’s success in marketing soap-powder and detergents in smaller, cheaper units. This created prosperity downstream through new distribution mechanisms. Too often poor people are patronised, Prahalad wants them to have real power in the marketplace.
To learn more about Prahalad’s thinking, watch this compelling interview with him at McGraw-Hill’s website, here.