Tag Archives: John Seely Brown

The seven business books I believe are right for right now

These books, which I've read or am reading, are works whose content can inform business life. 

The Power of Pull:  How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in MotionJohn Hagel III, John Seely Brown, Lang Davison.  Aptly describes the change that is afoot and how anyone — and any business — can sustain relevance and connection.

Team of Rivals:  The Political Genius of Abraham LincolnDoris Kearns Goodwin.  Shows how competitors can collaborate when their leader is clear about the objective and recognizes how their motives can help reach the goal.  [Side benefit:  I found the description of the actions of biased journalists soothing.  If this country survived a civil war and those reporters, it can survive anything.]

The Divine ComedyDante Alighieri [The John Ciardi Translation].  Amazing that despite every other kind of growth, the human character really never changes.  Very useful.

I Hate People:  Kick Loose from the Overbearing and Underhanded Jerks at Work and Get What You Want Out of Your JobJonathan Littman, Mark Hershon.  The authors do an outstanding job of categorizing every personality you can encounter in the workplace.  The psychology and the comedy of pathological behavior.

Delivering Happiness:  A Path to Profits, Passion and PurposeTony Hsieh.  Sometimes nice works. Here's how to do it and prosper without becoming a patsy.

Power:  Why Some People Have It — and Others Don'tJeffrey Pfeffer.  How to get comfortable with power and decide whether you want it.

Overlook Much, Correct a Little:  99 Sayings by John XXIIIHans-Peter Rothlin, editor.  The musings of an enlightened mind, these thoughts inspire action that benefits every stakeholder in an organization — most especially, oneself.

 

 

 

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Using knowledge networks to shift the way business absorbs change

Deloitte, under the leadership of John Hagel III and John Seely Brown, earlier this year released what I believe is a landmark study:  The 2009 Shift Index.  "Measuring the forces of long-term change," this work uncovers a new way to think about shifts in business and society and absorb them to maximum benefit for the organization.  What's more, the study illuminates the pressing need for business leaders to alter the way people interact inside the organization as well as with stakeholders, and it outlines a better way to measure performance.  Beyond product and service, the distinguishing characteristic of corporate output will be the way the knowledge of its people is put to use in products, services and daily interaction.  [And the study answers the question, "what is the big deal with Twitter."]

Hagel, a speaker at the upcoming Supernova conference, was interviewed recently by Cathy Brooks on The Social Media Hour.  He pointed to what is being born out in recent news coverage of this recession:  many jobs won't be coming back and the complacent view that upturn is inevitable will marginalize even the most sound companies.  The good news:  the organizations that harness the flow of knowledge among employees and with stakeholders will thrive.  

  • Digital technologies and long-term public public policy shifts are the key factors affecting the way companies perform and interact.
  • The source of economic value is shifting from knowledge stocks to knowledge flows, making the ability to connect a key value driver.
  • The economic playing field is fundamentally different from what we have assumed for decades; established practices are not working in public companies.
  • We now have the capacity and potential to connect into knowledge flows in ways that can turn around deteriorating performance.
  • Social media gives both individuals and enterprises a richer way to connect and share knowledge, making it a significant part of the solution to deteriorating performance, especially in terms of creating scale for knowledge flows.  Over time, because we're still in the early stage, the social media revolution will increase the number of active contributors in the world's knowledge flow.
  • The enterprise's most passionate people are often the most unsatisfied.  They see the most potential but also feel the most constraint in the traditional corporate environment.  As competition intensifies, companies need more passionate people, not clock punchers.  Companies must learn to align passion with profession.

Those of us who already have concluded that this recession is actually a correction and the gateway to a truly magical intersection of society and business must take the data of The Shift Index and run with it.  Armed with this information, we have before us the kind of opportunity that distinguishes one historical era from the next.  A golden age?  A gold standard?  Knowledge is platinum for the people and organizations that welcome reality and appreciate the economic value of connecting in new ways to serve customers and society.

This post runs simultaneously on the Supernova Hub.