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The Economist this week highlights Lenovo, the Chinese computer company that some years back bought IBM’s PC business, as an example of the new era of business innovation emerging from developing economies. One interesting fact about Lenovo, The Economist notes, is that the company has become so globally oriented that no longer has a corporate headquarters; instead, the company rotates its senior management meetings among various offices around the globe.
Could the company-without-a-country model be a wave of the future? Well-known scholar C.K. Prahalad of the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business (and author of the influential book The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid), apparently thinks so. In an article last spring for Strategy+Business, Prahalad and coauthor Hrishikesh Bhattacharyya articulate a model of a company that, rather than having one central headquarters, has “twenty hubs and no HQ.” Such a company, the authors suggest, would be “the modern version of an empire on which the sun never sets.”