John Hagel

John Hagel

Chairman, Deloitte Center for the Edge

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON October 16, 2015

Discussion

John Hagel
John Hagel@jhagel · Chairman, Deloitte Center for the Edge
Hi all, John here. I lead the Silicon Valley based research center for Deloitte— Center for the Edge. Our charter is to identify emerging business opportunities that should be on the CEO's agenda, but are not, and to do the research to persuade them to put it on the agenda. I have nearly 35 years of experience as a management consultant, author, speaker, and entrepreneur, and have helped companies improve performance by applying technology to reshape business strategies. You can find my blog posts at Edge Perspectives. Ask away!
Erik Torenberg
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
John - Welcome! Read Power of Pull YEARS ago - big fan. What's something you used to fervently believe that you now see as misguided?
John Hagel
John Hagel@jhagel · Chairman, Deloitte Center for the Edge
@eriktorenberg i used to fervently believe that people were basically rational and would act rationally. Now I understand that people have deep emotions and are very complex beings and if you can't put yourself in their place and see/feel the world as they see/feel it, you will never be able to move them to act in a positive manner
Erik van Mechelen
Erik van Mechelen@decision_ · Essayist and fiction writer
@jhagel @eriktorenberg pure empathy is tricky at best, but a worthwhile (even necessary) endeavor
Daryna Kulya
Daryna Kulya@darynakulya · Co-Founder @ OpenPhone | Product Hunt TO
Hi John, great to have you here! Greetings from Deloitte Toronto office :) Since you spend a lot of time both with enterprise clients and startups, what are some things they can learn from each other?
John Hagel
John Hagel@jhagel · Chairman, Deloitte Center for the Edge
@darynakulya I think that what large enterprises can learn from start-ups is the power of passion, risk-taking and learning in achieving more and more impact. What startups can learn from large enterprises is the consequences of sacrificing passion, risk-taking and learning in favor of scalable efficiency. Of course, large enterprises have deep reservoirs of expertise that can help startups to learn and scale more rapidly, as long as they can find ways to avoid becoming contaminated by the scalable efficiency virus.
Dave Jarrick
Dave Jarrick@davejarrick · Deloitte - Digital Innovation
John - greetings from Deloitte Los Angeles - can you give a few comments on where enterprises are heading with use of cognitive technologies? Real, Hype, Job disrupter?
John Hagel
John Hagel@jhagel · Chairman, Deloitte Center for the Edge
@davejarrick Alas, I think that we are still in the earliest stages of deploying this technology and that the early applications are still quite narrow and focused on increasing efficiency of operations, often with the goal of replacing expensive and inefficient humans with more reliable machines. The big opportunity here is to find ways for cognitive technology to enhance the creativity and imagination of human beings and to accelerate/amplify their ability to come up with creative new approaches that can deliver even more value to the marketplace. My deepest hope is that cognitive technologies will become a catalyst to redefine work in ways that tap into the potential we have as human beings and then provide the tools that will help all of us to achieve more of our potential.
Gerald Huff
Gerald Huff@geraldhuff · Principal Software Engineer, Tesla Motor
@jhagel @davejarrick This is similar to the IA (intelligence augmentation) vs AI (artificial intelligence) tension as described in John Markoff's Machines of Loving Grace. The difficulty I have with the image of all of these tools basically creating "super powers" for people is that it appears we will be enabling very small teams of super-empowered people to move incredibly quickly and create value for millions of networked customers. WhatsApp/Instagram are the poster children for this model. Given winner-take-all dynamics in many network businesses, we can't hope to have thousands of these kinds of businesses in a given segment. How do we deal with the employment of masses of people in this future? People will have thousands of desires/wants/needs, but if each one can be satisfied by a 100 person company, we're in trouble!
Niv Dror
Niv Dror@nivo0o0 · VC at Shrug Capital
@jhagel hey John! What part of Deloitte are you most excited about that the rest of Big 4 are not doing?
John Hagel
John Hagel@jhagel · Chairman, Deloitte Center for the Edge
@nivo0o0 You mean other than the Center for the Edge!?! ;-) I would have to say that it is our willingness and initiatives to mobilize larger ecosystems of specialized talent that will help companies to make the transition from the linear practices, organizations and mindsets that have driven success in the past to the exponential practices, organizations and mindsets that will be necessary for survival, much less success, in the decades ahead. We are at the leading edge of driving companies to the edge so that they can increase their competitive edge . . .
Lejla Bajgoric
Lejla Bajgoric@lejlahunts · Intern, Product Hunt
Hi there! What's the greatest lessons you've learned about people throughout your 35 years as a management consultant?
John Hagel
John Hagel@jhagel · Chairman, Deloitte Center for the Edge
@lejlahunts - see the answer to Erik above. I would add that I have also learned that we all want to be part of something bigger than ourselves, we all want to make a difference and that also all have great fears and we are generally reluctant to share our fears with others unless we have deep trust-based relationships with them
Lejla Bajgoric
Lejla Bajgoric@lejlahunts · Intern, Product Hunt
One more: I'm an Organizational Studies student at the Univ. of Michigan. The majority of students in my program go into consulting; what piece of advice do you think everyone hoping to enter that line of work should know?
John Hagel
John Hagel@jhagel · Chairman, Deloitte Center for the Edge
@lejlahunts There is a general perception that the key to success is ultimately intellectual problem solving while, over the years, I have become more and more convinced that the key to success in consulting is the ability to build deep trust-based relationships which in turn hinges on emotional and social intelligence - my advice would be to focus on cultivating the latter
Nicki Friis
Nicki Friis@nickifriisw · Entrepreneur. Former Partner @ Ideanote.
What do you see as "the new wave" of agile strategic thinking?
John Hagel
John Hagel@jhagel · Chairman, Deloitte Center for the Edge
@nickifriisw I have been very interested in something called strategies of trajectory rather than strategies of position or core competence which used to reign in the strategy field. In particular, I have become a big advocate of "zoom out, zoom in" approaches to strategy - I shared some of my thoughts here https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/b...
Anna Smith
Anna Smith@annasmithclt
@jhagel @nickifriisw zoom-in, zoom-out - creativity!! (Making new connections)
Emily Hodgins
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
Hi John thanks so much for joining us today! What has most surprised you about consulting CEO's over the years? Are there any consistent mistakes people make that you find yourself often trying to lead them to right direction on?
John Hagel
John Hagel@jhagel · Chairman, Deloitte Center for the Edge
@ems_hodge I fear that CEOs have responded to mounting performance pressure by becoming increasingly focused on short-term results and ensuring predictability and reliability. My belief is that the key to success in business today is to have a clear and compelling long-term view of where the relevant markets are heading and the implications for your company, and then coupling that with a very tight focus on 2-3 business initiatives that can be pursued over a 6-12 month period to accelerate movement towards that longer term destination. And then regularly reflecting on results and refining both long-term view and short term actions
Melissa Joy Kong
Melissa Joy Kong@melissajoykong · Content, Product Hunt
John! An honor to have you here. Can you speak more about the process of persuasion? What are the most effective ways to get a CEO/executive team to put something on their agenda that they don't currently see the value in/priority of? What are the least effective ways?
John Hagel
John Hagel@jhagel · Chairman, Deloitte Center for the Edge
@melissajoykong Ultimately persuasion is about getting people to experience a different approach and to be able to put it into a context that matters to the individual/leadership team. From my experience, some of the most effective techniques are visits to places where new things are being pursued (or at least videos of people in those places), tying new initiatives clearly and convincingly to metrics that matter to the individuals/organization and being able to draw connections between the initiatives and and the personal agendas of the individuals involved. The least effective ways? Powerpoint slide decks and thick reports with lots of data and powerful analytics.
Melissa Joy Kong
Melissa Joy Kong@melissajoykong · Content, Product Hunt
Of all the CEOs and executive teams you've worked with, which one has impressed you the most—and why?
Jake Crump
Jake Crump@jakecrump · Community Team with Product Hunt
What's the biggest thing you changed your mind about in the last year?
Jake Crump
Jake Crump@jakecrump · Community Team with Product Hunt
Who are the writers/thinkers you most admire and why?
John Hagel
John Hagel@jhagel · Chairman, Deloitte Center for the Edge
@jakecrump A few years ago, I developed a list of "edgerati" - people who are dedicated to exploring the edges of business and willing to take risks that most of the rest of us are not - it can be accessed here - http://www.edgerati.com/ My biggest heroes are those who challenge conventional wisdom and are those who are determined to find ways to help all of us achieve more of our potential
Gerald Huff
Gerald Huff@geraldhuff · Principal Software Engineer, Tesla Motor
@jhagel @jakecrump Thanks for that list, looks great!
Anna Smith
Anna Smith@annasmithclt
@jhagel 1) how do we get more innovation into larger corporations? 2) What type of new jobs do you imagine will be created? Should be created? What is needed?
John Hagel
John Hagel@jhagel · Chairman, Deloitte Center for the Edge
@annasmithclt Innovation is the most talked about and least practiced activity in large enterprises. Rather than launching major innovation plays, I think the more promising approach is to focus on one or two work environments and focusing on redesigning the environments to accelerate learning and performance improvement - it typically will not result in big bang innovation, but it will start to show how innovation is something that can be done in all parts of the organization and that it can accelerate performance improvement. That will build more support for a very different culture that over time will evolve into an environment that can generate big bang innovation at an accelerating rate. On the second question, I think it is less about new jobs that will be created and much more about redefining work at a fundamental level. In today's work, the focus is on predictability and reliability that is achieved by tightly specifying, standardizing and integrating all activity. That kind of work will increasingly be done much more effectively by algorithms and robots. We need to evolve a new way of thinking about work as applying creativity and imagination to coming up with new questions/opportunities that no one has thought about before and applying emotional and social intelligence to motivate and mobilize others to participate in coming up with innovative new approaches. And I think all work needs to be redefined in this way, whether it is facilities maintenance, assembly line factory operations or customer support functions, not just in product development or business development.
Rajesh Agarwal
Rajesh Agarwal@agarwalrajesh
Hello @jhagel - What is something you believe that nearly no one agrees with you on?
John Hagel
John Hagel@jhagel · Chairman, Deloitte Center for the Edge
@agarwalrajesh I believe that ultimately the best way to turn mounting performance pressure into excitement and opportunity, is to move beyond data and stories and find ways to craft opportunity based narratives that speak to our aspirations as individuals and our desire to be part of something bigger than ourselves. I make a major distinction between stories and narratives that few people acknowledge yet which I think will make a huge difference in terms of helping all of us to overcome our fears and create things that we never would have imagined possible. I started to draw this distinction here - http://edgeperspectives.typepad....
Gerald Huff
Gerald Huff@geraldhuff · Principal Software Engineer, Tesla Motor
@jhagel You wrote in August about the absolute imperative to transition organizations from a scalable efficiency rationale to one of scalable learning, where people are viewed as resources that deliver value instead of expenses to be cut. That seems like a big challenge for managers steeped in the current “shareholder value” paradigm not only due to financial pressure but because managing a loose network of learners (inside and outside the org) requires different skills than defining clear boundaries/tasks/responsibilities. What evidence do you see that managers and organizations are making this leap to a new skill set and mindset? As a follow-up, you noted that digital/robotic technologies will be able to substitute for more and more of the tasks in the economy today. Do you think "full employment" will be possible even in a well-functioning scalable learning model?
John Hagel
John Hagel@jhagel · Chairman, Deloitte Center for the Edge
@geraldhuff Oh, I don't see any evidence yet that managers and organizations are making this "leap" but the research we have done shows that lots of companies have tackled small slices of the opportunity to redesign work environments to accelerate learning and performance improvement and shown very tangible performance improvement results - some of this research is captured here: http://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/p... There's still tremendous opportunity to take a more systematic approach in applying design thinking and design methodologies to the task of redesigning working environments to foster and amplify scalable learning
Gerald Huff
Gerald Huff@geraldhuff · Principal Software Engineer, Tesla Motor
@jhagel @geraldhuff right, so then I suppose the question is - will the transition happen quickly enough to avoid, as you put it, "the risk of significantly increasing unemployment and social turmoil around the world in the decades ahead". Are you still optimistic on this front?
John Hagel
John Hagel@jhagel · Chairman, Deloitte Center for the Edge
@geraldhuff I am ultimately an optimist but also very realistic about the potential for near-term turmoil. My passion is to help people see the opportunity and find ways to act on it so that we can reduce the near-term turmoil.
Gerald Huff
Gerald Huff@geraldhuff · Principal Software Engineer, Tesla Motor
@jhagel @geraldhuff Thanks for the honesty and for the work that you are doing in this regard. I too am concerned about the turmoil we face in the next few decades as this plays out.
John Hagel
John Hagel@jhagel · Chairman, Deloitte Center for the Edge
I think we are at the top of the hour so, alas, I must head off but I loved the questions and tried to answer most but not all. I encourage all of you to reach out to me if what I have said resonates.
Nicki Friis
Nicki Friis@nickifriisw · Entrepreneur. Former Partner @ Ideanote.
What do you see a few consultancies do, but all consultancies should do?
Nicki Friis
Nicki Friis@nickifriisw · Entrepreneur. Former Partner @ Ideanote.
How do you showcase your results? I mean, a company hire you, you identify exponential treats and emerging startups who could disrupt their business, that they might create some due diligence around. But how do you present it, so you are sure that they will follow your advices?
John Hagel
John Hagel@jhagel · Chairman, Deloitte Center for the Edge
@nickifriisw See my answer to Melissa above. I would add that I focus on conversations, rather than presentations (I rarely use slides), I try to couple group conversations with one on one conversations, so that I can surface issues/reservations that many are often reluctant to express in a group and I try to focus on small moves, smartly made, that can set very big things in motion so that people are not overwhelmed and trying to rationalize why they cannot take action
Nicki Friis
Nicki Friis@nickifriisw · Entrepreneur. Former Partner @ Ideanote.
What can I disrupt the consultancy business? (How do you disrupt yourself?)