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Edge Perspectives with John Hagel: Getting Stronger through Stress: Making Black Swans Work for You

In this context, his perspective is very consistent with the critique of modern push systems that I (and my co-authors) developed in The Power of Pull. Push systems are driven by two concerns: the ability to forecast or predict events and the quest for increasing efficiency by designing systems that are highly standardized and tightly specified to remove any unnecessary activity – everything is arranged to be in the right place at the right time to meet anticipated demand. Scalable efficiency is the ultimate goal.

Virtually all of our contemporary institutions – firms, educational institutions and government – have been designed as push systems. While these systems tend to prosper in highly stable times, they do very poorly in times of rapid change and growing uncertainty. They become highly vulnerable to Black Swans, setting cascades and avalanches into motion that amplify and extend the disruptive effects of the initial event. By seeking to remove unpredictability, we are actually becoming more fragile. As Taleb observes: “When you are fragile, you depend on things following the exact planned course, with as little deviation as possible – for deviations are more harmful than helpful. This is why the fragile needs to be very predictive in its approach, and, conversely, predictive systems cause fragility.”

via Edge Perspectives with John Hagel: Getting Stronger through Stress: Making Black Swans Work for You.

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