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Quick Highlight: Gladwell’s Take on Organizations

October 25, 2011

Today’s note is a quick highlight on Malcolm Gladwell’s address to the Project Management Institute (PMI) North American Global Congress. The address was summarized by Cyndee Miller on in this post, titled “Gladwell Says Tweakers Rule.” Miller summarized the talk as follows: “In a business landscape that seemingly puts a premium on originality, it’s the borrowers and followers — those who tweak the ideas — that thrive.” [all italics are added by me, and denote quotes from the article]

Gladwell categorizes organizations into three types of innovative values:

1. Intellectual ones come up with big ideas
2. Innovative ones are entrepreneurial and risk-taking
3. Borrower cultures nimbly combine the traits of the first two  

Apparently, the first category isn’t necessarily the one the reaps the biggest payoff. The second and third categories of organizations benefit from lessons learned by the first, and can often be the big winners in the marketplace, even if they lose the “first to market” race.

Miller offers an interesting synopsis of Gladwell’s talk, and for the two minutes it will take to read it, it is well worth your time to do so.


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