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February 11, - Published on Amazon. Well, a marketing manager by day, who spends his waking hours working in a cubicle and leads a miserable life at a personal level by not even being able to pay attention to his wife and kid, turns a new leaf with the help of a computer virus. Before the Internet, we had only two choices when confronted with the challenge of animating and aggregating human effort — create a market or build a bureaucracy. While markets are great at unleashing initiative and passion — picture the frenzied madness of a Wall Street trading floor — they're not very good at complex coordination tasks.
A market will never build a jumbo jet or a corporate IT system. Bureaucracies, on the other hand, are great at coordinating complex activities, but in doing so, they sacrifice initiative and creativity on the altar of conformance and control.
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Now, thanks to the power of the Web, there is a third option — the distributed network. The Internet has spawned a Cambrian explosion of new organizational life forms — including Wikipedia, Intrade, Digg, Facebook, Innocentive, Topcoder, Twitter and more than , open innovation projects. The fast-evolving social technologies of the Web — blogs, mash-ups, online forums, crowdsourcing, folksonomies and wikis — are extending the range of human creativity and collaboration in ways that would have been unimaginable a decade ago.
On the Web, we observes amazing feats of management that require little or no management oversight. We finds complex organizations that thrive with little or no organizational structure. This raises the hope that, with a little imagination, it may finally be possible to overcome the troublesome trade-offs that have bedeviled management theorists and practitioners since the pyramids were built.
For the first time in human history it may be possible to coordinate complex activities without incurring the response lags and political frictions that come with centralization.
It may be possible to build highly efficient organizations without turning human beings into automatons, to get discipline where it's required without cinching people into a straitjacket of rules and procedures, to reap the benefits of specialization without building silos and fiefdoms, to be focused without becoming myopic, and to do things at scale without becoming inflexible. To achieve this promise, we'll have to do more than apply a thin veneer of social networking technology over our tradition-encrusted management structures.
What's required is the managerial equivalent of gene replacement therapy. Woven into the DNA of the Web is a matrix of values that emphasizes community, freedom, flexibility, transparency, meritocracy and self-determination. Unfortunately, these aren't the values that typify the average Fortune company. That's why the Web is adaptable, innovative and inspiring — and most companies aren't.
Nevertheless, the fact that human beings have managed to build something that is not only complex and intricate, but malleable and regenerative as well, should make us optimistic that we need not forever be prisoners of organizations that are de-motivating and dehumanizing. So where do we start in reinventing management? Not with today's "best practices," that's for sure. We have to be more ambitious than that. As managers, we have been too quick to dismiss the unconventional and too willing to accept the incremental.
We must resist the temptation to be satisfied with the status quo.
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We must nourish our discontent with Management 1. We need the guts to dream big, even if we have to start small. Geneticists dream about conquering disease. Environmentalists dream about unpolluted streams and clean, pure air. Computer experts dream about machines that can think and learn.
Social activists dream about a world free from injustice. So, as managers, what should we be dreaming about? What big, meaty problems should be exercising the imagination of newly minted MBA grads, harried project leaders, disheartened middle managers, stressed-out executives, and all the other human beings who know they can't do what needs to be done alone? We need to ask, what is management's equivalent to the challenge of putting a human being on the moon? That was the provocative question that brought 35 of the world's smartest management thinkers and executives together at a 2-day conference in May In a series of pre-conference interviews, each of the attendees was asked to address two questions:.
First, what is it about the way large organizations are structured, managed and led that most impairs their capacity to adapt, innovate, and engage, and limits thevalue they add to society? And second, given that, what bold goals would you set for 21st century management innovators? The results of the interviews were circulated to the attendees in advance and then vigorously debated over the course of the conference.
The end product, which emerged after several rounds of post-event synthesis, was a roster of twenty-five "moonshots for management" — ambitious objectives for reinventing one of humankind's most important social technologies. Here they are, arranged thematically:. You'll notice that not all these moon shots are new; many focus on long-simmering problems that are endemic to organizations of all sorts.
The purpose in highlighting them is to inspire a search for new solutions. The hope is that by leveraging the Web as a platform for innovation and collaboration, we can provoke new thinking around these critical challenges and uncover unconventional practices that can point us towards new solutions. The Web is a great tool for sharing what works and working together on what might — that's why the MIX is both a clearinghouse and a community.
A clearinghouse. A significant number of companies around the world are experimenting with radical new management practices. However, the traditional process by which management innovations get discovered, documented and disseminated is haphazard and inefficient. As a result, the vast majority of managers are either unaware of these unorthodox practices or familiar with only a tiny subset. Radical management practices, when encountered, are often regarded as isolated deviations from the norm rather than harbingers of a dramatic paradigm shift.
The MIX aims to change this by assembling a substantial inventory of radical yet practical management practices that can serve as templates for all those around the world who are eager to escape the limits of management-as-usual. A community. There are potential management innovators in every organization.
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Often these folks have great ideas and lots of passion, but feel isolated and disenfranchised — most don't sit in a corner office. The MIX gives creative thinkers the chance to share their breakthrough management ideas with a network of like-minded peers and interact with world-renowned management experts. The goal: to foster the sort of inspired collaboration that can help turn a nascent idea into a practical blueprint for management innovation. The design of the MIX reflects our belief that everyone wins when everyone shares.
It has been built to showcase management breakthroughs and to celebrate the accomplishments of management innovators.
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It is organized around the management moonshots, making it easy for individuals to zero in on the problems that matter most to them. It's open to anyone and everyone, because paradigm-busting ideas often come from unexpected places. And it's peer based — it's up to the community to decide which ideas are truly groundbreaking and which are merely ho-hum. Share a success story: Has your organization or one you know successfully upended management dogma and made real progress on one of the moonshots?
If so, write up a short case and post it on the MIX. Help managers around the world learn from your bleeding edge example.