Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Pull Model

The past century had a focus on improving various forms of "push models." These were models of production that allocate resources to areas of expected demand. Many organizations and leaders centered in emerging markets, such as China, have taken a contrarian approach to production. Instead of "scaling up" - - where the concerns and issues are reducing unit costs by centralizing their manufacturing and producing long runs of standardized items, the emerging market leaders are concentrating on "pull models." Centralized production adds expensive layers of bureaucracy, and is it hard to make it work in emerging markets where populations are often widely scattered and distributions systems abysmal. Instead of fixed armies looking for opportunities, pull models have firms organized into loose networks that are forever reconfiguring themselves in response to a rapidly shifting landscape.

The idea of "pull" structures and attitudes are encompassed in three principal themes - -
  1. Access - - The idea of flexible access where the ability to fluidly find and get to the people and resources when and where we need them. Access will become increasingly necessary as competition intensifies and disruptions become more frequent. We live in a world of new, technology-enhanced pull platforms. Can you imagine a time when we could not turn to a search engine to access people and resources that could help us with our needs? In many respects, individuals are much more comfortable with pull strategies than many of our companies and organizations.
  2. Attract - - Our success in finding new information and sources of inspiration increasingly depends on serendipity -- the chance encounter with someone or something that we did not know existed, much less had value, but that proves to be extraordinarily relevant and helpful once we find out about it. Online social network sites, such as Facebook or LinkedIn, play an interesting role in all of this. They help people stay in touch with their existing friends and colleagues, but, increasingly, they also provide environments for serendipitous encounters with friends of friends, or colleagues or colleagues, even people whom one has never before met.
  3. Achieve - - Performance in a pull environment takes place at the edges. The edge is exactly the place where we need to get better, faster and has the most urgency. Incumbents at the core -- which is the place where most of the resources, especially people and money, are concentrated, and where old ways of thinking and acting still hold sway - - have many fewer incentives to figure out the world, or to discover new ways of doing things, or to find new information.

Read more in The Power of Pull: How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion (2010) by John Hagel III, John Seely Brown, and Long Davison.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.