For the past ~25 years or so, my work has focused almost exclusively on entrepreneurship in emerging markets, long before they were the fashion du jour. This work has resulted in five books, each of which was an exercise in ‘taking stock’ of my research. The Harvard Business School publications page gives a listing of key publications and ongoing research. Here, I categorize my ongoing research into three broad buckets
Foundations of emerging markets
In this line of work, going back to at least 1997, I explore whether and how the act of entrepreneurship differs as a function of the development of the ambient context. Very often, we exhort would-be creative individuals to think differently and take a risk, but how is one to do that without the support systems that I can take more for granted in my adopted home of Boston – adequate risk capital, relatively easy access to diverse pools of talent, adequate protection for the intellectual property that’s generated?
Talent and "Lost Einsteins"
A foundational aspect of any society has to do with the systems it evolves to nurture and allocate its talent to productive endeavors, from which individuals derive satisfaction and sustenance. Of course, it’s easy to see that these abstract ideas are adjudicated in dramatically different ways across societies. I’m especially interested in understanding what to do about the marginalized populations, in order to minimize the moral catastrophe and the economic losses of unrecognized human potential.
Somewhere among these marginalized, there are ‘Lost Einsteins,’ or ‘Hidden Ramanujans’ (named after the prodigious Indian self-educated mathematician from the 1930s who was ‘discovered’ by accident by a mathematician at Cambridge and revolutionized modern math, before he died prematurely at the age of 32).
I am not a health expert, nor did I set out to study health, but health concerns are unavoidably implicated in the developing world, where malnutrition and inadequate primary care jostle with health-mishap-triggered financial hardships in getting in the way of living a fulfilling life. So I’ve come face to face with many such projects.