It is described as:
Can you give something away which gets people interested or addicted, so they come back and pay for more?
As an example from design point of view it says:
Offering one chapter (often the introduction) free has become increasingly common as a way of promoting new books more widely.
I bet your first reaction is that this is not a design but a sales pattern. And you are absolutely right. That is the psychology pattern. So, it can be used everywhere.
However, I guess that you think about sales process while trying to recognize the usage of it. But as you remember this series of posts is about management. It might sound ridiculous but sales is the natural part of management.
50% of your time you sell. You sell the work to your subordinates. You sell your results to boss. You sell your ideas to everybody around. And you sell, sell, sell.
Thus, this is your pattern. As an example think about selling a new idea to your boss. You can just come to him and describe it. Natural and easy way of communication but no warranty to get an approval for the implementation. Alternatively, you can sell him a free part of the idea. Implement the first step and gift it to him. Don’t ask anything. It will be your boss who will ask you to move further.
Disclaimer: the weakest points of all junior sales people are overselling and underpricing. Think about it when planning your first action that will be done for free.
Inspired by: http://www.danlockton.com/dwi/First_one_free