Monday, March 08, 2010

Fast followers

With thanks to somebody at Krū Research, a global think tank focused on empowered patients, I repeat the following idea:

We talk much, encourage and glorify “leaders” in any space. But the real power is in “fast followers.” It’s a business strategy concept well known to entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, but not a familiar concept to others.

Here's a video that demonstrates the concept. If you cannot see the video, click here.


Anonymous said...

I first watched the video without going to the link and without sound.(ps I do this frequently and recommend it; prevents someone else directing your impressions). It interested me how long the first guy was out there before anyone joined him. The warp speed established after the 3rd guy appeared was truly fascinating. Unfortunately, fast followers seem to be sorely lacking in our health care realm, except perhaps the patient arena. Wake up,docs!!!!

nonlocal MD

e-Patient Dave said...

That "somebody" would be Kevin Kruse himself, a smart guy who last October ran the first "e-Patient Connections" conference, which focused on how healthcare businesses (particularly pharma) should go about engaging with empowered patients. For a brand new conference, at the end of a crowded Fall seasons, it was darn good.

Not surprisingly, my talk was titled "Engage Authentically." Video here.

REKording said...

That's why I follow your blog.

Jon Saxton said...

I have a slightly different interpretation, which is that, yes, this sort of spontaneous mob action is pretty interesting and has some lessons for leadership. But this is a very limited form of "leadership" and "followership." This video and the presentation itself are the sort of facile observations that a certain sort of management guru turns into something that seems profound, but there is an enormous and sophisticated literature on crowds and such "spontaneous" outbursts. They are just one species of leader/follower dynamic.

The real story about leadership and followership is the guy who created this Sasquatch Music festival in 2002 and gets thousands of people to pay money and come together to hear indie music year after year. Compare that accomplishment to the 2 minutes of spontaneous dancing that was accomplished in this example (after which these happy people probably returned to their grassy spots to soak up some more sun and music).

Good leadership really does matter to good followership and vice versa, but good leadership and followership means much more than being able to sustain a 2 minute "movememnt."

e-Patient Dave said...


I don't see this as a leadership post at all: I wouldn't recommend that anyone try to produce results by just standing there being him/herself (which is what I see the guy doing).

To me this illustrates the social dynamic by which a new idea sometimes takes hold and grows, without centralized "command and control," simply because (apparently) its time has come and others say "Hey, now that you mention it, I'm that too."

(And, Kruse is a businessman whose antennas told him last year that this patient empowerment stuff is real, not just a feel-good trend. I imagine he posted this video as a hint to his peers that they might want to notice this.)

Btw, for a mind-blowing tangent on the "I'm that too" idea, see Bonnie Basler's TED talk last year about how bacteria can apparently communicate.)

Kevin Kruse from Kru Research said...

Paul, glad you liked the post and thanks for spreading the thought. In reply to some of the other comments I agree that there is a lot more to crowd psychology than is explained in this brief clip, and that broader organizational and marketing skills are to be commended for larger, sustainable, revenue-producing events.

The point of my original post on "The Patient Will See You Now" is just to make accessible the concepts around the classic adoption curve. And that that both patients and providers alike should realize that we've already seen our early adopters (leaders) and now is the time to expand up the adoption curve.

Anonymous said...

I wish I had such a leader in my boss, instead of a micormanager.

BID Employee

Anonymous said...

Bosses need training, too...

Jon Saxton said...

e-patient, RE: "To me this illustrates the social dynamic by which a new idea sometimes takes hold and grows, without centralized "command and control," simply because (apparently) its time has come and others say "Hey, now that you mention it, I'm that too."

My point is that the idea that a new idea or leadership and followership take hold out of the blue is really not a helpful construct. This dance happened at a music festival. Such dances happen at music festival all the time. It was quite predictable and many others probably happened as well. There was a context and this was only a spontaneous event in the most trivial sense of that term. It actually takes a lot of work to create the structures and environments within such "spontaneity" occurs. Even bacteria "communicate" within specific environments structured for that communication.

Leadership/Followership as well as ideas require all sorts of rules, structures, antecedents and capacities that make such seemingly "spontaneous" communication and organization possible.

I don't know the context for this video to begin with, though apparently it has to do with patient empowerment. But if you want the antecednts of that, I would suggest looking at the women's movement of the 1960's-70's where the patriarchal and paternalistic nature of most doctor/patient interactions began to be questioned and confronted. The "Our Bodies, Our Selves" collective created the followership for women to take control of their own bodies and of how the medical profession "handled" them. I think much in patient empowerment has followed from the power of that collective effort in leadership/followership.

Deanna Bland Hiott PhD, MSN, RN said...

This is the best ever!!!! I'm in school finishing my BSN so I can start my Masters this fall. I have a personal blog and have started one for a nursing informatics class called nurse's watch. I'm going to borrow this video for both blogs. It is great.

Leading is a hard concept to grasp. I have been following your blog for quite some time and have been pleased to be able to share this link with other nursing students. Keep up the good work! This blog has shown me the difficulties inherent in leading especially in these current, tough economic times. Thanks for the information and the transparency into the process.

Southern Drawl at Mops and Pops Place and at Nurse's Watch.
Deanna Hiott RN