I have known John Seely Brown for many years and have served with him on several committees and boards. John was Chief Scientist at Xerox and Director of its Palo Alto Research Center for almost twenty years. Since retiring from Xerox, he has continued to be very busy as a speaker, writer, member of the boards of several public and private companies and lots of other activities. In his website, he writes “Today, I’m Chief of Confusion, helping people ask the right questions, trying to make a difference through my work - speaking, writing, teaching.”
I have indeed learned that John is always asking just the right questions, be they about technology, business, learning or society in general. So, when he recently sent me an e-mail, recommending that I look into his latest project and recent papers, I proceeded to do so.
The project John referred me to is called The Big Shift. It is being conducted at the Center for the Edge, which is part of Deloitte Consulting. The Center is co-chaired by John Hagel, whom I have also worked with and greatly respect, and John Seely Brown. They just published an article on their research in the July-August issue of the Harvard Business Review, co-written with Lang Davison, Executive Director of the Center for the Edge, as well as a more extensive report explaining their ideas and methodologies in detail - Measuring the forces of long-term change: The 2009 Shift Index.