Picked a new book off the stack for my trip to Dallas, The New Age of Innovation by C.K. Prahalad and M.S. Krishnan. Prahalad was the co-author of Competing for the Future (with Gary Hamel) and I had heard him on several podcasts (including this one on the book itself).  What caught my eye on this book?  Two key concepts that are extremely relevant for all of us.

  • N = 1: "Value is based on unique, personalized experiences of consumers.  Firms have to learn to focus on one consumer and her experiences at a time, even if they serve 100 million consumers.  The focus is on the centrality of the individual."
  • R = G: "No firm is big enough in scope and size to satisfy the experiences of one consumer at a time.  All firms will access resources from a wide variety of other big and small firms—a global ecosystem.  The focus is on access to resources, not ownership of resources." *Don’t be put off by the word "global."  The real concept is that you’ll have to go outside your own capability to meet the needs of the individual.

Now before you get all worked up about not being in the kind of business that Prahalad and Krishnan are writing about…just stop and think with me.  Doesn’t this actually apply to all of us?  This is about your ability to truly serve your customers.  You may be thinking, "Wait a minute! This is only going to happen to those organizations, not ours!"  I’m thinking it’s already happening.

Think about your programs.  Aren’t many of your conversations already about how this group or that individual customer isn’t being served by what you’ve got?   You know that’s happening!  What are you doing about it?  Don’t you just shrug your shoulders and watch them leave?

There is admittedly a tension between this concept (which implies customized solutions) and simple.  What does it all mean?  I’m not sure yet.  Want to come along?  You can pick up your copy of The New Age of Innovation: Driving Cocreated Value Through Global Networks RIGHT HERE.


The New Age of Innovation