John Hagel

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Make This the Best Year Ever

John Hagel

As we approach the New Year, it’s an opportunity to step back and reflect on our journey. Are we headed in the right direction? Are we making the kind of progress that we would like to see? For most of us, we approach this opportunity in a relatively granular and ad hoc way – we craft a set of resolutions for how we’re going to act in the New Year.

United We Stand, Divided We Fall

John Hagel

I love paradox and today we’re living through one of the biggest paradoxes of all: at a time when we seem more divided than ever, we’re actually more united than ever. What do I mean by that? All you have to do is take a cursory look through our media or our conversations when we come together as groups to see that we’re deeply polarized.

Business Practice Redesign

John Hagel

In the world of scalable efficiency, processes rule. And, it’s not just companies – all of our institutions have caught the process religion, whether it’s schools, governments or even NGO’s. Maybe they’re actually becoming a barrier to performance improvement rather than a prerequisite for performance improvement. Where do workers spend their time?

The Big Shift in Business Models

John Hagel

In the Big Shift , we are all experiencing mounting performance pressure. So, what is a business model? It’s ultimately all about money. Payment.

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Scaling Learning in an Exponential World

John Hagel

What does scalable learning really mean? I’ve been writing and talking about this for a while now including here , making the case that this will be a key driver of institutional success in the years ahead. Why is scalable learning so important? In the face of these exponential changes, if we’re not learning faster, we’ll rapidly fall behind.

The Unmet Need for Trusted Talent Advisors

John Hagel

In a world that’s changing ever more rapidly, we all need trusted advisors. It’s a significant unmet need that creates a very attractive business opportunity. This has been a central part of my research and writing for almost 20 years since I published a book on the topic, Net Worth. Most recently, I returned to this subject in a blog post.

The Real Unemployment Innovation Challenge

John Hagel

While unemployment rates in certain parts of the world appear to be slowly improving, unemployment in many other parts of the world remain stubbornly high and, in some cases, are even increasing. So, what is the problem? Well, there are many problems – that’s one thing that makes it so complicated and challenging. Matching supply and demand.

Catalyzing Passion through Strategy

John Hagel

As we approach the end of yet another year, I want to go out on one of my favorite topics – passion. In particular, let me explore one very promising approach to catalyze and amplify passion within the workforce. Passion and performance improvement Why do I say that? Because passion drives accelerating performance improvement. Think about it. Musi

The Big Shift in Strategy - Part 1

John Hagel

In an exponential world, it stands to reason that our traditional, linear approaches to strategy will need to be re-thought from the ground up. One way to characterize the big shift in strategy is that we are moving from strategies shaped by terrain to strategies shaped by trajectory. What do I mean by this? Strategies of terrain.

Disruption by Trusted Advisors

John Hagel

What’s “the next big thing”?   Coming from Silicon Valley, I often get this question from executives around the world.    Usually, they frame the question in terms of the next wave of technology innovation. They want to know what’s the next big technology that could disrupt everything?   It’s what I call the “trusted advisor.”

Leave Those Resolutions Behind

John Hagel

As we enter the New Year, we all tend to embrace it as an opportunity for some new beginnings. New Year’s resolutions abound, all made with the best of intentions. Some resolutions are truly audacious while others focus on small improvements on the edges of our lives. How is that possible? What do I mean by “smartly made”? Focus. Leverage.

Harnessing the True Potential of Internet of Things Technology

John Hagel

Despite all the hype, businesses are still significantly under-estimating the business impact of Internet of Things (IoT) technology. In my last blog post , I explored at a high level the likely evolution of business models in the Big Shift. The Internet of Things space. Current applications for this technology. What are some examples? One to many.

Drawing Inspiration From Independence Day

John Hagel

Independence Day in the US is a time of celebration, recalling a historic milestone when a small group of fragmented colonies in a distant part of the world came together and bravely declared independence from a world power. The prison of conformity. We resist the temptation to do what we want because we fear disappointing others.

Platforms Are Not Created Equal: Harnessing the Full Potential of Platforms

John Hagel

Platforms are becoming increasingly central to business value creation.    Yet, not all platforms are created equal – some platforms have far more potential to trigger powerful forms of increasing returns that will ultimately marginalize other forms of platforms. What is a platform? So, what did I learn?  

Making a Movement: Narratives and Creation Spaces

John Hagel

What better day than Labor Day in the US to explore movements and narratives? Labor Day emerged directly from the powerful labor movement in the US. Throughout history, we’ve had a lot of movements that have shaped our economic, social and political arenas. believe we’re on the cusp of a new wave of movements. What is a movement? What happened?

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The Disruption Debate - What's Missing?

John Hagel

I admit that I’m mystified by Jill Lepore’s article in the New Yorker attacking Clayton Christensen and his theory of disruptive innovation. Some of the commentators may be right: perhaps this article is better read as the most recent manifestation of the cultural conflict between the humanities-driven East and the technology-driven West.

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The Big Shift in Strategy - Part 2

John Hagel

In my last blog post , I suggested that we’re going through a big shift in strategy from strategies of terrain to strategies of trajectory.  Most strategies (strategies of terrain) tend to look from the present out to the future.   But that’s exactly what makes strategies of trajectory so valuable. Shaping. Motivating. Measuring.

Companies and Movements

John Hagel

On Labor Day, I posted about movements and the foundations for successful movements.    Many of the executives that I work with me gave me quizzical looks. They asked, “Why are you writing about movements? You’re a business consultant. What does this have to do with business?” Good questions. Let me see if I can offer some answers.

A 21st Century Global Declaration of Independence

John Hagel

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all individuals are created equal and are endowed with the right to be able to achieve as much of their potential as possible. We find ourselves now at a crossroads in history. It is not surprising that our trust in these institutions is plummeting around the world. Approaches. Organization.

The Big Shift in Influence

John Hagel

Influence is becoming more and more challenging.   It’s hard enough to attract attention, much less retain it or use that attention to shape the behavior of others. And yet, in a world of scarce resources and mounting pressure, the ability to influence others becomes more and more central to the ability to set big things in motion. Carruthers.

Exploring passion – what kind of passion do you have?

John Hagel

I've become passionate about passion.  If we don’t have passion, we risk becoming increasingly stressed and overwhelmed. Passion of the fan.

Optimism or Pessimism?

John Hagel

People often ask me whether I am an optimist or a pessimist. have real trouble with that question because it implies that I should be one or the other. As with many things in my life, I challenge the conventional wisdom by responding that I am both. In truth, I'm a long run optimist and a short run pessimist. Here’s the thing. So, why worry?

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Personal Narratives: Insight and Impact

John Hagel

We all have a personal narrative, even though few of us have made the effort to articulate it.   That’s a shame because our personal narrative can be a source of deep insight as well as a great way to amplify impact. Narratives are powerful because they are ultimately a call to action – they help people to see how they can have greater impact.

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The Dark Side of Technology

John Hagel

I’m going to disrupt the Silicon Valley script. You know the one.    I want to explore the dark side of these technologies.    The side that very few tech evangelists want to acknowledge, much less talk about. What do I mean? Let me repeat: this pressure is not going away. Far from it. It will continue to intensify. Yikes!

Expanding Horizons Through Corporate Narratives

John Hagel

I’ve become increasingly interested in the role that corporate narratives can play in driving business success in more competitive markets - something that I've written about here and here.  This isn’t surprising given how few effective corporate narratives there are out there. The defining elements of a narrative. What can we accomplish?

Where Do You Stand? The Shifting Ground of Strategy

John Hagel

We’re all trying our best to remain standing, but the ground beneath us is shifting at an accelerating rate. The implications for strategy are profound, but few have explored this terrain. Strategies of position are back Strategy was once all about position – all that mattered was where you were located and whether there were barriers to entry.

The Untapped Potential of Corporate Narratives

John Hagel

At a time when we’ve all become obsessed with the power of story-telling, I’ve become increasingly focused on the missed opportunity to harness the much greater power of narratives, especially for institutions. Yes, yes, I know that most of us use these two terms interchangeably – stories and narratives are viewed as the same thing. Will you?

What Is To Be Done (Part 3)

John Hagel

It’s fitting that we reach this third installment of my “What Is To Be Done?” series on Martin Luther King day.    He’s an icon of the power of narrative and its role in building movements that can fundamentally change how we live and work.  The outcome depends on us. What will we choose to do? There are many reasons. Free at last!

Strategy Made Simple - The 3 Core Strategy Questions

John Hagel

In increasingly turbulent and complex times, we understandably fall prey to a dangerous temptation – both as institutions and individuals. We’re tempted to abandon long-term strategy and fall back on rapid adaptation as the only winning game – sense and respond quickly enough to events as they occur and everything will be OK.  One more thing. 

Robots Can Restore Our Humanity

John Hagel

Red alert! Robots are getting more versatile and artificial intelligence (AI) is getting exponentially smarter! Our jobs are in jeopardy and no one is safe! We’ve all seen the headlines. Some respond that this is simply a resurfacing of a Luddite fear of new technology that has erupted every time new technology breakthroughs occur. What do I mean?

Getting Stronger through Stress: Making Black Swans Work for You

John Hagel

Unanticipated events, especially extreme unanticipated events, can harm us or even destroy us. But they can also help us to grow and make us stronger. If they do the former, we tend to fear them and avoid them wherever possible. If they do the latter, our orientation shifts and we tend to welcome them. Focusing on Black Swans. As he observes, “.

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The Big Shift in Business Strategy

John Hagel

Business strategy has evolved dramatically over the past four decades in response to the Big Shift that is re-shaping our global business landscape. We’re on the cusp of yet another shift that will determine who wins and who loses in the years ahead. Today, we’ll look at the importance of new approaches to strategic advantage. brief history.

A Contrarian View on Resilience

John Hagel

In a world of growing uncertainty and mounting performance pressure, it’s understandable that resilience has become a very hot topic. Everyone is talking about it and writing about it. We all seem to want to develop more resilience. How can I say that? But the more I heard, the more distressed I became. What does resilience mean? Aiming higher.

The Cumulative Power of Narrative

John Hagel

Narratives have great power, but their power increases dramatically when building on other narratives. What does that mean in practice? It means that we need to be thoughtful and deliberately make choices about where we choose to pursue our narratives. Most recently, I’ve been exploring the power of personal narrative here and here. Bottom line.

The Labor Day Manifesto Of the Passionate Creative Worker

John Hagel

[Three years ago today I posted A Labor Day Manifesto for a New World. In classic Hagelian fashion it was long and complicated.    On this important day, let us reflect on what we each can do to make our work more meaningful and have greater impact. These are indeed exciting times, full of promise and potential. We strive to: 1. Never.

The Paradox of Preparing for Change

John Hagel

I love paradox. Here’s an example: the best way to prepare for change is to decide what isn’t going to change. Several weeks ago, I had the pleasure of speaking to a gathering hosted by the Churchill Club in Silicon Valley. The theme of the gathering was “Changing the Game.”   You see, as a child, I lived a very nomadic life. Bottom line.

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Narrative and Passion

John Hagel

Narrative and passion are becoming increasingly central to performance at all levels – individual, institution and ecosystem.   But are they completely separate topics or are they related in some way? believe they’re deeply related and that, together, they amplify performance improvement in powerful ways.   Let me explain. Bottom line.

Shift Happens

John Hagel

I’m writing to announce an edge initiative from the Center for the Edge. It’s the publication of a really, really short book, “ Shift Happens ” , written by John Seely Brown and me (with the significant help of our crew at the Center), now available on Amazon (bulk orders available here ). Who has time to pay attention to long-term trends?

What Is To Be Done? (Part 1)

John Hagel

My last post on The Dark Side of Technology definitely seems to have hit a responsive chord. Many of us see evidence of this dark side of technology every day in the world around us. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The same digital technologies producing this dark side also have the potential to produce a world of unparalleled opportunity.

Not So Grand Narratives

John Hagel

Narrative is a powerful concept with enormous potential. But it’s also fraught with misunderstanding because of the many different meanings attached to the term. By unpacking those different meanings, leaders of institutions and movements can begin to better understand the power of narratives. "Grand Narratives" are really stories.