The Decline of the HPPO (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion)
The next wave of Enterprise 2.0, says MIT Sloan’s Andrew McAfee, will center around the concept of harvesting expertise, solutions and knowledge — not just from within the organization, but from anywhere that expertise can be identified and gathered.
Many established companies still practice “decision making by HPPO” (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion), according to Andrew McAfee of the MIT Center for Digital Business. But McAfee says that the next wave of Enterprise 2.0, a term he coined, will see companies managing decision making and knowledge in decidedly new ways.
During a recent interview, McAfee spoke with MIT Sloan Management Review editorial director Martha E. Mangelsdorf. He was asked about the changing thinking around Enterprise 2.0, six years after he first started writing about it:
“The central change with Enterprise 2.0 and ideas of managing knowledge [is] not managing knowledge anymore — get out of the way, let people do what they want to do, and harvest the stuff that emerges from it because good stuff will emerge. So, it’s been a fairly deep shift in thinking about how to capture and organize and manage knowledge in an organization.”
The idea that the best minds and the best solutions are often outside our organizations is central to this new mindset, McAfee says. Companies must be willing to seek out those experts wherever they may be:
“Allstate took some of its data, made it available for one of these data science competitions, and said, ‘Hey, can you beat our current best prediction for which of these cars is going to get into an accident somewhere down the road?’ Sure enough, the data scientist could beat the baseline prediction by a lot.
“. . . What I’m learning over and over from data science competitions and Wikipedia and Enterprise 2.0 is the power of [saying]. . . We’re going to watch where the expertise, the good answer, the creativity, the tenacity, we’re going to watch where the manifest themselves and we’re going to go harvest that out there. . . Why would we not want to take advantage of that?”
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