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Business Prophet

How strategy guru C.K. Prahalad is changing the way CEOs think

Take a cab ride through Bombay, and these are the scenes that will likely strike you first: raggedly dressed homeless families sprawled on blankets amid shacks. Traffic hopelessly clogged with every manner of soot-belching vehicle and wooden cart. Gaunt hawkers and beggars tapping on your window at red lights. For foreign visitors, such jarring images of poverty and desperation are hard to shake.

View those same streets through the eyes of C.K. Prahalad, however, and they become a beehive of entrepreneurialism and creativity. "I see the positives inside the muck," says Prahalad as he settles his stocky frame into the back of a hired Tata Indica sedan to conduct a quick tour of Bombay. As the car crawls through congested Mohamed Ali Road, he notes that virtually every individual is engaged in a business of some kind -- whether it is selling single cloves of garlic, squeezing sugar cane juice for pennies a glass, or hauling TVs.