It’s little secret that our world has seen enormous transformation due to technology during the past couple of decades.
In addition to the billions of dollars that have been made by entrepreneurs like Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the fabled duo who reportedly created Google in their Stanford dorm room, a cottage industry of books by and about the changes wrought by technology have sprung up in recent years.
John Hagel, John Seely Brown and Lang Davison have written a book that does not so much look at how to maneuver within this changed world, but rather how to align one profession with one’s passion on the way to reaching our full potential. The work discusses technology, but as a vehicle to achieve these larger goals.
The idea is The Power of Pull.
By pull, the authors mean shifting away from what they describe as the previous and now less-effective methods of pushing. Pushing, they say, is based on the inaccurate assumption that companies can accurately predict market demand. Rather, people and organizations must use their knowledge in a far more interactive way to reach their goals.
Key elements in the process include accessing people and resources that can help on the way to accomplishing a trajectory one has defined for him or herself. If this language sounds distinctly like business jargon, it is because there is some that in The Power of Pull. At the same time, the authors pepper examples throughout the book of groups who have acted in this way, starting with a group of young surfers in Maui, continuing with the small cadre of people who broke the Iranian government-imposed controls on Twitter to show popular unrest after the fraudulent 2009 elections and citing examples like the IPhone and Android that illustrate the new way.
Toward the end of the book, the authors have a fascinating section about how individuals and institutions can move from their specific endeavors to influencing, or shaping, society-wide conversations about specific topics.
Like many authors pushing a perspective, these three speak in draconian and unambiguous terms about the fate of those organizations that do not embrace what the authors call The Big Shift. At best, they are living on borrowed time. At worse, they are already on a rapid path to obsolescence and nonexistence. While convincing, if not somewhat obvious, this conclusion is less unusual than the authors’ assessment of a changed landscape and encouragement of all of us to move toward our passions and full potential.