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Resources / The Sapient

Are you a hedgehog or a fox?

We believe that everything is routed in a big idea, that success can be achieved by following a big idea, by remaining focused and letting the big idea inform and manage your decisions. Without a big idea you will remain confused, you will have lots of ideas and lots of plans, but they probably will not bring success, they will only lead to confusion and dead ends.

Quoting Isaiah Berlin The Hedgehog and the Fox (Chicago: Elephant Paperbacks, 1993)

“The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing”. . . Day in and day out, the fox circles around the hedgehog’s den, waiting for the perfect moment to pounce. Fast, sleek, beautiful, fleet of foot, and crafty - the fox looks like the sure winner. The hedgehog, on the other hand, is a dowdier creature, looking like a genetic mix-up between a porcupine and a small armadillo. . . .

The fox waits in cunning silence at the juncture in the trail. The hedgehog, minding his own business, wanders right into the path of the fox. . . . The fox leaps out, bounding across the ground, lightning fast. . . . Rolling up into a perfect little ball, the hedgehog becomes a sphere of sharp spikes, pointing outward in all directions. The fox, bounding toward his prey, sees the hedgehog’s defense and calls off the attack. . . ."

Each day, some version of this battle between the hedgehog and the fox takes place, and despite the greater cunning of the fox, the hedgehog always wins.

Quoting Jim Collins, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap . . . and Others Don’t (New

York: HarperCollins, 2001), 90–91]

Foxes pursue many ends at the same time and see the world in all its complexity . . . , never integrating their thinking into one overall concept or unifying vision. Hedgehogs, on the other hand, simplify a complex world into a single organizing idea, a basic principle or concept that unifies and guides everything. . . . For a hedgehog, anything that does not somehow relate to the hedgehog idea holds no relevance.

At Purple Frog we are hedgehogs, we believe that everything is simple, and that a big idea guides and informs. Our big idea is to “create change in the way people think”, about our business and our client’s businesses’ and that defines our thinking and the way we work.

When you have defined your big idea this informs your staff, your communications, your decisions and it makes these easier to make and to understand as they have context and vision in which to be understood. So become a hedgehog and join us now.

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