Pull Platforms: Proving Answers to Questions We Didn't Know How to Ask
Providing an insight that helped me to solve a problem that I didn't know was there - that, in effect, is a form of serendipity.
John Hagel III has nearly 30 years experience as a management consultant, author, speaker and entrepreneur, and has helped companies improve their performance by effectively applying information technology to reshape business strategies. John currently serves as co-chairman of the Silicon Valley-based Deloitte Center for the Edge, which conducts original research and develops substantive points of view for new corporate growth.
Before joining Deloitte, John was an independent consultant and writer. Prior to that, he held significant positions at leading consulting firms and companies. He is the founder of two Silicon Valley startups.
John is the author of a series of best-selling business books, including Net Gain, Net Worth, Out of the Box and The Only Sustainable Edge. He has won two awards from Harvard Business Review for best articles in that publication and has been recognized as an industry thought leader by a variety of publications and professional service firms. Additionally, he and Center Co-chairman John Seely Brown recently contributed a chapter to Business Network Transformation: Strategies to Reconfigure Your Business Relationships for Competitive Advantage (2009) and The Power of Pull (April 2010; 2nd edition December 2012).
Business needs to move to adopt much more scalable pull platforms. When we talk about pull platforms often people focus on one level of pull which is what we call access. It’s simply if I have a need I can make a request, get the resource or the information I need when needed.
That’s a very useful form of pull. You can think about Google as a search engine is a great scalable pull platform in that regard. But that’s only the first level of pull. There are actually two other levels that become more and more important. One level has to do with the notion that in a more rapidly changing world where there’s so much uncertainty we don’t even have much comfort that we frame the right question. What’s the question? What are we trying to answer?
And in that kind of environment there is a second form of pull that we call attraction. How do you attract people and resources to you that you didn’t even know existed but when you encounter them you say, “My God, that was so helpful. They had an insight that I didn’t even know was there or that I could ask for and yet it helped me to solve a problem.”? That’s, in effect, a form of serendipity, unexpected encounters. Creating pull platforms where you enhance that opportunity for serendipity and attraction - that’s very powerful.
Then you get to a third level of pull which is what we describe as achieve but it has to do with the notion of using these pull platforms, and particularly those first two levels of access and attract, to drive learning so that people can learn faster by participating in these pull platforms.
Coming together to learn faster is ultimately, we think, the big opportunity around scalable pull platforms. It’s not just taking resources that exist today and connecting them, it’s working together with these resources to learn faster than you could on your own.
In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock