Vijay Govindarajan

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Vijay Govindarajan
Born (1949-11-18) 18 November 1949 (age 69)
Chennai, Tamilnadu, India
NationalityUnited States
Alma materHarvard Business School (MBS, DBA)
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India
OccupationProfessor and consultant
Known forThree Box Solution
AwardsRanked #13 on Thinkers50
Fellow at the Strategic Management Society
Two-time winner of the McKinney award for the best article published in Harvard Business Review

Vijay Govindarajan (born 18 November 1949) is Coxe Distinguished Professor at Dartmouth College's Tuck School of Business and Marvin Bower Fellow, 2015–16 at Harvard Business School. Govindarajan worked as General Electric's first chief innovation consultant and professor in residence from 2008–10.


In 1974, Govindarajan received his chartered accountancy degree, where he was awarded the President’s Gold Medal by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, the award is given to the first ranked chartered accountancy student in India.[1][2] Govindarajan went on to earn his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School in 1976 where he graduated with distinction. Two years later, he earned his D.B.A. from Harvard Business School where he was awarded the Robert Bowne Prize For Best Thesis Proposal.[1] Govindarajan is now a professor at the Tuck School of Business.[3]


Govindarajan started his career as a professor at the Indian Institute of Management where he served as an associate professor from 1978–80. From 1980 to 1985, Govindarajan served as a visiting associate professor at Harvard University and as an associate professor at Ohio State University.[2] In 1985, he joined the Tuck School of Business as a professor, where he has taught ever since. During his time at Tuck, Govindarajan has also served as a visiting professor at INSEAD's Fontainebleau campus and the International University of Japan.[2]

Govindarajan served as General Electric's first Chief Innovation Consultant and Professor in Residence from 2008–10. While working at GE, Govindarajan co-authored a paper entitled "How GE Is Disrupting Itself" with Chris Trimble and GE's CEO Jeffrey Immelt. "How GE Is Disrupting Itself," which introduced the idea of reverse innovation,[4] outlines GE's attempts to embrace reverse innovation and gives reasons why companies like GE need to invest in these types of innovations, rather than just focus on glocalization.[5]


Businessweek rated Govindarajan as a "Top Ten Professor in Corporate Executive Education"[6] and has included him in their list of "Outstanding Faculty" in their guide to the best business school for six different years.[citation needed] CNN Money listed Govindarajan as one of the "top-ten business school professors in the world" in their 2012 ranking, citing his prolific work as a consultant to show that his "influence on the business world is clear."[7]

Govindarajan has been rated as a top fifty management thinker by the London Times[1] and was rated as the number three management guru in the world by Thinkers50 in 2011.[4] In 2009, Govindarajan became a member of the fellows group of the Strategic Management Society.[8]


Govindarajan is the author of nine books and has published articles in academic journals such as the Academy of Management Journal, the Academy of Management Review and the Strategic Management Journal.[7][9] In 2010, Govindarajan's paper "Stop The Innovation Wars" was recognized as one of the three best papers published by the Harvard Business Review, receiving the second place prize for that year's McKinsey Awards.[10] Govindarajan is the author of a blog featured by the Harvard Business Review[11] where he discusses topics like reverse innovation and global business issues. He is also the author of a column on innovation that is published by BusinessWeek.[12]

Reverse Innovation: Create Far from Home, Win Everywhere[edit]

Reverse Innovation: Create Far from Home, Win Everywhere was published on 10 April 2010 by Harvard Business Review Press. The book is co-authored by Govindarajan and his longtime collaborator Chris Trimble. According to Scott D. Anthony, the authors of the book explain the five step thought process that many leaders of multinational corporations go through when considering how to approach emerging markets. First, leaders deny of the importance of the emerging market, then leaders have the realization that the top earners from this new market may be interested in the products the company develops for other, more established, markets. The third step consists in companies deciding to follow a glocalization strategy, where they simply develop local versions of their already existing global offerings. The fourth step, where reverse innovation starts to play a role, in this line of reasoning consists in companies beginning to design new products specifically for an emerging market rather than repackaging products designed for different regions. The fifth step consists in companies bringing the products that they have developed for new markets back to the established markets for which they already produce products, in order to "create organic growth in mature markets."[13]

Throughout the second half of the book, the authors describe several case studies where steps four and five have been successful in producing growth for companies like Procter & Gamble, Pepsi, and General Electric. Anthony states that the stories of "Deere & Company develop[ing] a winning tractor in India and how Harman International Industries created a cost-effective in-dash infotainment system that delivers 'functionality similar to Harman’s high-end products at half the price and one-third the cost' for India and China are particularly compelling."[citation needed]

The Wall Street Journal's review of the book focuses on how the "trickle-up process" of reverse innovation could help with some of the developing worlds most serious and difficult problems, like the rising costs of health care. Alan Murray, the author of the review, brings up what he thinks is one of the more powerful examples in Reverse Innovation, that of the cost and risks associated with open heart surgery in the US versus Narayana Hrudayalaya hospital in India. The authors of the book explain that, at NH's hospital, the cost of open heart surgery is ten times less than that of the average surgery in a US hospital and that NH's hospital actually has a lower thirty-day mortality rate (1.4% versus 1.9% in the US).[14]

Selected publications[edit]

  • The Three Box Solution: A Strategy For Leading Innovation, HBR Press, April 2016
  • Beyond The Idea: How to Execute Innovation in Any Organization, St. Martin’s Press, 2013 (with Chris Trimble).
  • How Stella Saved the Farm: A Tale About Making Innovation Happen, St. Martin’s Press, 2013 (with Chris Trimble).
  • Reverse Innovation: Create Far From Home, Win Everywhere, Harvard Business Review Press, 2012 (with Chris Trimble). NYT, WSJ, and USA Today Best Seller.
  • The Other Side of Innovation: Solving the Execution Challenge, Harvard Business Press, 2010 (with Chris Trimble).
  • Ten Rules for Strategic Innovators – from Idea to Execution, Harvard Business School Press, 2005 (with Chris Trimble).


  1. ^ a b c "Awards". Tuck School of Business. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
  2. ^ a b c "Vijay Govindarajan". Tuck School of Business. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
  3. ^ Dartmouth, Tuck School of Business at. "Vijay Govindarajan - Executive Education". Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  4. ^ a b "The 50 Most Influential Management Gurus". Thinkers50. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
  5. ^ "How GE Is Disrupting Itself". Harvard Business School. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
  6. ^ "Featured Faculty". Retrieved 2013-11-13.
  7. ^ a b "Top 10 B-school professors in the world". CNN Money. 30 October 2012. Retrieved 2013-11-13.
  8. ^ "Govindarajan Bio". Strategic Management Society. Retrieved 2013-11-14.
  9. ^ "Biography". Tuck School of Business. Retrieved 2013-11-13.
  10. ^ "Harvard Business Review's 52nd Annual McKinsey Awards". Harvard Business Review. Retrieved 2013-11-14.
  11. ^ Govindarajan, Vijay. "HBR Blog". Harvard Business Review. Archived from the original on 11 December 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-14.
  12. ^ Govindarajan, Vijay. "Businessweek blog". Businessweek. Retrieved 2013-11-14.
  13. ^ "Gatorade for Innovators". Strategy+Business. Retrieved 2013-11-14.
  14. ^ Murray, Alan. "Trickle-Up Development". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2013-11-14.

External links[edit]