Being pulled kicking and screaming across the chasm

Move over Geoffrey Moore. John Hagel and his colleagues have a powerful new book out “The Power of Pull”.

HBR in its review of the book says “In a ferociously dynamic world, what happens if we can’t plan but can only adapt? We must move, say the authors, from push to pull. At the center of the pull strategy is an individual (not a corporation) who has access to knowledge flows, takes advantage of porous boundaries and serendipitous interactions, and occupies new creative spaces to achieve a novel order of performance.”

John’s research is not new – as he says, the book is based on trends they have been watching now for a decade. (correction – the research is new, the trend is not – see comment from John. )My question is how long will enterprises say all kinds of nice things about how right John and co are, while continuing to resist the pull.

Three exhibits in technology:

  • John has been citing Li and Fung for a while now – how it leverages a vast, scalable network of suppliers with deep specialization. In contrast in IT, in analysis for my upcoming book, The New Polymath, I found we spend over 50% of our budgets with the top 25 infotech and telecom vendors. The imbalance between buyer and vendor concentration is acute – top 25 buyers in contrast barely make up 5% of that same spend – and yet we persist with vendor consolidation and lock-in. Time to exploit more “exotic” and “arsonist” vendors I cite in my book in spades. Let them pull you to a better world
  • John cites SAP as an example of benefiting from “pull” by leveraging its social networks and communities. No question, in its outreach to bloggers and “mentors” and SDN and other communities SAP has been a pioneer. I have complimented them several times for that. I would suggest, though, that SAP has primarily used these assets for marketing advantage – old school push thinking…

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CEO of Deal Architect, a top advisory boutique recognized in The Black Book of Outsourcing, author of a widely praised book on technology enabled innovation, The New Polymath, prolific blogger, writing about technology-enabled innovation at New Florence, New Renaissance and about waste in technology at Deal Architect.  Previously Analyst  at Gartner, Partner with PwC Consulting. Keynoted at many business and technology conferences and has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, The Financial Times, CIO Magazine, and other executive and technology publications.

3 responses to “Being pulled kicking and screaming across the chasm”

  1. Jack

    You used the wrong “PULL” image. The one you used is from “Pull: The Power of the Semantic Web to Transform Your Business” by David Siegel. oops

  2. vinnie mirchandani

    you are correct – this site syndicates content from many of us, then Zoli adds the graphics. I will suggest he change to the one from


  3. Zoli Erdos

    Ouch… sorry guys, and Jack, thanks for letting us know 🙂