Hedgehog Concept

In his famous essay "The Hedgehog and the Fox," Isaiah Berlin divided the world into hedgehogs and foxes, based upon an ancient Greek parable: "The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing."

Jim Collins: http://www.jimcollins.com/lab/hedgehog

Hedgehogs, on the other hand, simplify a complex world into a single organizing idea, a basic principle or concept that unifies and guides everything. It doesn't matter how complex the world, a hedgehog reduces all challenges and dilemmas to simple - "indeed almost simplistic - "hedgehog ideas (Model). For a hedgehog, anything that does not somehow relate to the hedgehog idea holds no relevance... No, the hedgehogs aren't simpletons; they have a piercing insight that allows them to see through complexity and discern underlying Pattern-s. Hedgehogs see what is essential, and ignore the rest.

a Hedgehog Concept is a simple, crystalline concept that flows from deep understanding about the intersection of the following three circles:

  1. What you can be the best in the world at (Genius) (and, equally important, what you cannot be the best in the world at). This discerning standard goes far beyond Core Competence. Just because you possess a core competence doesn't necessarily mean you can be the best in the world at it. Conversely, what you can be the best at might not even be something in which you are currently engaged.

  2. What drives your economic engine. All the good-to-great companies attained piercing insight into how to most effectively generate sustained and robust cash flow and profitability. In particular, they discovered the single denominator - "profit per x - "that had the greatest impact on their economics. (It would be cash flow per x in the social sector.) (Leverage)

  3. What you are deeply passionate about. The good-to-great companies focused on those activities that ignited their Passion. The idea here is not to stimulate passion but to discover what makes you passionate.

... The Council consists of a group of the right people who participate in dialogue and debate guided by the three circles, iteratively and over time, about vital issues and decisions facing the organization.


see also

  • 2013-03-11-RaoFoxySystemsThinking
  • Every population, regardless of ethnic or national origin, counts its foxes and its hedgehogs, and the essential arguments between the two are as eternal and predictable as the seasons. The utopias envisioned by pure-breeds of each species are notable for their total exclusion of the values cherished by the other, but history has shown that just about any unit of human society, from a commune to a nation-state, is too large for such unanimity.
  • add the Cactus and Weasel to the mix

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