Defining the Big Shift

John Hagel has developed a number of “from-to” contrasts to illustrate the Big Shift. It’s great to get confirmation from someone like John Hagel that what I’ve been saying here for the past five years appears to be on track. Hagel cites several shifts in his post.

Knowledge stocks to flows – my take on learning stocks and flows (2005):

If learning is conversation, then online conversations are the essential component of online learning. Online communication can be divided into two parts (Lee Lefever):


Flows = Timely & Engaging (e.g. radio, speeches, e-mail, blogs)
Stocks = Archived, Organized for Reference (e.g. web site, database, book, voice mail)


One reason that blogs are so engaging is because they allow flow. On the other hand, stock on the Net is everywhere. In the case of digital learning content, fewer people are willing to pay for plain old stock, such as self-paced online courses. Learning content is now a commodity and over time the price of commodities tends to zero.

Some more comments on Flow.

Explicit knowledge to tacit knowledge (or knowledge that is in the early stages of emergence). This is the core of my always-in-development PKM process and also behind the idea that online content is not as important as the context in which it is used.

From push programs to pull platforms, which is how I felt in don’t push my learning (2006).

From stable environments to dynamic environments or what I called life in perpetual Beta (2006).

Take the time to read all of Hagel’s post and follow the link to the Big Shift as well.

4 Responses to “Defining the Big Shift”

  1. Jay Cross

    Harold, maybe this is your sunny outlook shining through: the link to “tends to zero” is not working.

    I read somewhere, or maybe he told me, that Lee LeFever grokked the stocks and flows concept from Jerry Michalski. Me, too.

    I organize my main research page into Stocks, Search, and Flows.


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