Just a few moments ago, I posted that we need to get used to a higher and more nuanced level of usage for the word “incubator”. Another word that we need to get used to using more is “leverage”. Not just as a noun that describes a result, but as an activity.
Why? Because technology leaders are starting to get beyond their infatuation with “scope” (broadening access to connections to everyone — perhaps best captured by Clay Shirky’s famous line “Here Comes Everybody”) to “intimacy” and “interaction”. This means we will have more and more tools that enable us to “leverage” our relationships. To get more out of shared learning experiences.
So? We might recall that Roger Fisher made the point long ago in the context of negotiation that putting relationships on a higher priority than positions opens the door to shared learning and much higher levels of productivity over time. Now we are starting to get digital tools that use this proposition to build core learning relationships over time. Threads of learning. Not just tools to reach out to everyone and say very little.
Here are two links that talk about next steps in app development to get us there. First, Fred Wilson on Google’s address book. Then Om Malik on apps that Google’s address book should have. Hmmm … better address books as the next killer app for leveraging? Interesting.
FOLLOW - As usual, the great and mighty focus on tools that suit their needs. Fred and Om have plenty of friends and ideas. So naturally, they want prioritizing tools so that they can better ride the waves of communication among inspired groups (Dave Logan’s level 4 style of communication). But what about the rest of us? We may not have access to this kind of resource. And we may be trapped in less productive group settings (Dave Logan’s level 2). Does this mean that we are doomed to remain troglodytes or worse still, losers? Perhaps not. But I do think that we need others to start talking more about our needs too.
2d FOLLOW - Those who have attended my courses know that I have a lot to say about leverage — and much of it negative. Why? Because we too often use the word to describe the result that we want rather than a process that produces better results. “I leveraged this to get that.” sort of chit chat. But on a more technical level, we cannot leverage if we have not selected a set of metrics and systematically measured our inputs and outputs in those terms. This is something most people find to be far too much work. Yet they believe that they are adept at leveraging. In fact, they are too often enjoying the benefits of past coercion which, too bad for them, are often transient.