Saturday, January 19, 2008

Vijay Govindarajan

"Fundamental changes may owe their origins to chance events. But our response to those events is anything but chance. This is what I call planned opportunism..."

Vijay Govindarajan, Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College, US

January 21, 7 am, over tea at Taj Connemara


Murali said...

About VG...

Vijay Govindarajan
Tuck School of Business
Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH 03755
(603) 646-2156

Murali said...


Vijay Govindarajan, known as VG, is the Earl C. Daum 1924 Professor of International Business at the Tuck School and founding director of Tuck's Center for Global Leadership. He is also the faculty co-director for Global Leadership 2020, Tuck's executive education program that focuses on global management and is taught on three continents.

For 25 years, Govindarajan has been advancing the field of strategy execution and advising senior executives in all industries on how to modify their organizations to achieve their strategic ambitions. Reading the zeitgeist of the past three decades, Govindarajan has helped companies adapt to the global business environment and change the way they look at strategy. In the 1980s, he surveyed hundreds of executives at Fortune 500 corporations about their varied approaches to executing strategy across business units. In the 1990s, he helped companies that were expanding globally achieve the most effective balance of differentiation and integration among country subsidiaries. Since 2000, Govindarajan has focused on teaching corporations to build breakthrough businesses while simultaneously sustaining excellence in their core business––the subject of his new book Ten Rules for Strategic Innovators (Harvard Business School Press).

Companies he has advised include AT&T, Boeing, British Telecom, Corning, Ford, The Gap, Hewlett-Packard, The Home Depot, IBM, J.P. Morgan Chase, Johnson & Johnson, Kodak, New York Times, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Sony, and Wal-Mart.

Govindarajan is recognized as one of today’s leading business strategists. He has been named to a series of lists by influential publications, including: “Outstanding Faculty” in BusinessWeek’s annual Guide to Best B-Schools; “Top Five Most Respected Executive Coaches on Strategy” by Forbes; “Top Ten Professor in Corporate Executive Education” by BusinessWeek; and “Eight Leading Executive Advisors” by the Wall Street Journal Online. Additional accolades include Across the Board, which features Govindarajan as one of four “superstar” management thinkers from India.

Govindarajan currently writes a column for His articles have also appeared in journals such as Harvard Business Review, strategy+ business, California Management Review, MIT Sloan Management Review, Accounting, Organizations and Society, Decision Sciences, and Journal of Business Strategy. As well, one of his papers was recognized as one of the ten most-often cited articles in the entire 40-year history of Academy of Management Journal. Govindarajan has published six books, including The Quest for Global Dominance (Jossey-Bass, 2001). He is a popular keynote speaker and has been featured at such conferences as the Business Week CEO Forum and the Economist Conference.

Prior to joining the faculty at Tuck, Govindarajan was on the faculties of The Ohio State University and the Indian Institute of Management (Ahmedabad, India). He has also served as a visiting professor at Harvard Business School, INSEAD (Fontainebleau, France), the International University of Japan (Urasa, Japan), and Helsinki School of Economics (Helsinki, Finland). Govindarajan received his doctorate and his MBA with distinction from the Harvard Business School. Prior to this, he received his Chartered Accountancy degree in India. He was awarded the President's Gold Medal for his outstanding performance in obtaining the first rank.

Murali said...

On Nano...

Why Nano is a great example of innovation?

January 17, 2008

To me, Tata's Nano is a landmark event for a variety of reasons. Its innovation points to a whole new set of consumers, who did not have access to the car earlier. In a way, I liken it to a revolution that the PC and Apple's iPod sparked. It is as important an event as India winning its independence or India launching its first satellite.

I also like to think that it is going to fundamentally change the way the automobile sector functions. And here is why.

For the first time, thanks to Tata's Nano, India has been established as an R&D leader, and not just a low-cost hub known for cheap labour. It has shown to the world that India can be a technology leader.

When we talk of Tata's Nano, we are not just talking about low-cost, we are talking about high technology . Even a DVD player in some US cars are priced over $2000—this just goes to explain the significance of the Tata Nano.

The Tata Nano will certainly find big takers in India. However, it can have a market in the US, as well. If the car is enriched with high technology functions to make it an intelligent car, many in the US will look forward to own it. An intelligent car at $3000 would be a good bargain after all, for many Americans. Tata's Nano shows that there is a huge opportunity for Indian companies to build profitable low-cost products and then take them to the US.

I also find that the Tata Nano has fundamentally followed the 'Forget,borrow,learn' model of innovation. It forgot the way it made money or operated in its earlier businesses. It realized that to innovate it would have to embark on a completely new theme. Its borrow challenge was to put some of its effective capabilities to use – selectively use its current technology for the breakthrough project. Finally, it also learnt to test and resolve the many assumptions that go with such an ambitious project.

The Tatas realized that for a poor country like India, there was a need of an ultra low-cost product and they offered it by leveraging the power of technology. The volumes are all there in India, one only needed someone like Ratan Tata to overlook the thin margins but invest in world class technologies to offer an affordable good product to the market.

Most of all, Tata's Nano is a great innovation, because innovation is all about thinking of the next decade and not the next quarter.


Murali said...

Top guru...

Thinkers 50 ranking was first launched in 2001, and its 2007 edition was launched in Nov 2007.

According to Thinkers 50 rankings 2007, CK Prahalad surged ahead of icons like Bill Gates, Michael Porter, Jack Welch, Gary Hamel and other venerated gurus to claim the no 1 spot. This is the first time that an Indian has topped the list.

What’s more, CK Prahalad is not the only Indian in the prestigious list! There are three others: CEO coach Ram Charan (#22), Vijay Govindarajan of the Tuck Business School (#23); and Harvard’s Rakesh Khurana (#45). North Americans however dominate the list with 37 gurus of the total fifty.


Murali said...

From a recent interview by Elizabeth M. Ferrarini

Q. What do you intend to accomplish at GE?

Throughout 2008, I will be at GE as a professor in residence and a chief innovation consultant. I won't be an employee. GE is engaging me as a thought leader to accelerate the company's innovation agenda. GE has embarked on some major innovation initiatives in the areas of global warming and water scarcity. GE wants to see how it can create breakthrough businesses in that space. My research is all about how can organizations, such as GE, can create businesses of tomorrow while they're managing excellence in the business of today, what tensions does it create, what challenges does it pose, and how do you handle it.

I'll have three roles -- to teach, to guide, and to consult. My teaching work will consist of giving the top 600 officers of GE ideas about innovation. As a guide, I'll work with the teams on several innovation projects. My agenda will be to as a facilitator to push their thinking and to give them some perspective on what they're doing. I'm going to bring some of my research to bear and to see how we can have an innovation agenda. As a consultant, I'll act more like an sounding board for executives who want to discuss ideas, such as making an organizational change.

Q. Are you going to apply your innovation model to GE?

Absolutely. GE wants to benefit from my 25 years of research as a thought leader. My model may not completely apply to all GE initiatives. Meanwhile, I'm going to learn a lot as well and to modify my own theory.
Source: December 11, 2007

Murali said...

Great meeting today morning with GE's 'professor in residence and chief innovation consultant'!

Also present: Vageesh, my banking colleague

APjayanthram said...

Most criticism that has been levelled against NANO have generally overlooked the value created by TATAS by the use of "appropriate Technology",that far outweighs the negatives that are only visible when people look at it against an impoverished Indian background and exaggerated environmental concerns.It is an unparalleled demonstration of an interplay between intellectual capital, entrepreneurship and technology in the world automotive history.Now that a great visionary like Vijay Govindarajan has expressed his thoughts on this unique innovation, let us hope that Indian thinkers will treat creation and commercialisation of value added technology with the kind of respect that it deserves.
Vice President,Empire Industries Ltd.