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“If we’re going to make it through the Big Shift, we have to re-frame what we mean by innovation” said John Hagel at the joint roundtable with Berkeley Haas and Siemens.  Innovation has become a loosely used term — Hagel suggests that innovation can be driven by the Big Shift and the Power of Pull.

What is the Big Shift?

The Big Shift transforms an organization from one stable state to another. It is moving from a world of push to a world of pull. Small moves, smartly made can set big things in motion. Organizations can make large scale transformations by taking action through a series of smaller steps. A push-base model becomes inefficient, because the company scrambles to find the right people at the right time. The goal is to move away from the power of push.  A pull-base model allows the organization to scale by successfully drawing out people and resources when and where they are needed. The objective is to establish a direction for long term and short term initiatives to strategize movement. People then learn to respond to long-term initiatives, and not just sense and respond to random activity.

How does an organization accelerate growth?

Re-think the business strategy! Hagel best explains it as the Zoom-In & Zoom-Out approach. Most companies focus on a 6 month trajectory (Zoom-In) or a 10-20 year trajectory (Zoom-Out).  What if companies began looking at the 5-year plan to find a core component within their organization to “Scale the Edge”? Companies can find a core edge to their current business that have the potential to scale.  Influenced by the Art of War, Hagel mentions that every company has an “enemy of change” (often competitors, etc.).  Therefore, large scale organizational transformation is not a rational process, but ­a rather lucid process that succeeds by identifying 3 objectives:

  1. Identify the enemies of change
  2. Strengthen the champions of change
  3. Don’t engage the enemy in battle

With the following objectives in mind, companies must think about resisting top-down approaches to transformation. The shift also occurs when an organization moves from Scalable Efficiency to Scalable Learning. Knowledge must be scalable to work within the organization. In a scalable efficient environment, movement is predictable, and there is little room for risk taking. In a scalable learning environment, people are driven by passion which leads to experimentation and possible scalable results. The driving force behind any successful company are its people. It’s about leveraging and re-structuring the individual and not just the work environment.

Seek out passionate employees, pull people from the core of the institution, don’t be threatened by the enemies of change, and shift to the power of pull!

Special thanks to all who attended the roundtable event hosted by Berkeley Haas and Siemens. Thank you to John Hagel, our guest speaker for a stimulating discussion.  For an overview of the attendees, please visit our website, here:http://corporateinnovation.berkeley.edu/john-hagel/