When The Future is Open and Global…

by Stefan Lindegaard

… we get lots of unanswered questions. I recently read an interview with Gary Hamel in which he raised interesting questions related to his work of transforming management as a discipline. This interview led me to his blog post, 25 Stretch Goals for Management. Great read!

I have decided to look further on the ideas of Hamel and his colleagues through an open innovation perspective and combine this with my belief that the future of innovation – and perhaps business in general – will be open and global.

I got lots of inspiration the last couple of days and I think this will shape many of my future thoughts on open innovation. It would be great to get your perspectives as well…

First, let me present those of Hamel’s stretch goals that I believe are particularly relevant for our work with open innovation. I ended up with 15 out of 25, which to me underscores the tight connection between innovation and leadership/management. They are:

Fully embed the ideas of community and citizenship in management systems. There’s a need for processes and practices that reflect the interdependence of all stakeholder groups.

Eliminate the pathologies of formal hierarchy. There are advantages to natural hierarchies, where power flows up from the bottom and leaders emerge instead of being appointed.

Reduce fear and increase trust. Mistrust and fear are toxic to innovation and engagement and must be wrung out of tomorrow’s management systems.

Reinvent the means of control. To transcend the discipline-versus-freedom trade-off, control systems will have to encourage control from within rather than constraints from without.

Redefine the work of leadership. The notion of the leader as a heroic decision maker is untenable. Leaders must be recast as social-systems architects who enable innovation and collaboration.

Expand and exploit diversity. We must create a management system that values diversity, disagreement, and divergence as much as conformance, consensus, and cohesion.

De-structure and disaggregate the organization. To become more adaptable and innovative, large entities must be disaggregated into smaller, more malleable units.

Share the work of setting direction. To engender commitment, the responsibility for goal setting must be distributed through a process where share of voice is a function of insight, not power.

Create a democracy of information. Companies need holographic information systems that equip every employee to act in the interests of the entire enterprise.

Empower the renegades and disarm the reactionaries. Management systems must give more power to employees whose emotional equity is invested in the future rather than in the past.

Expand the scope of employee autonomy. Management systems must be redesigned to facilitate grassroots initiatives and local experimentation.

Create internal markets for ideas, talent, and resources. Markets are better than hierarchies at allocating resources, and companies’ resource allocation processes need to reflect this fact.

Depoliticize decision-making. Decision processes must be free of positional biases and should exploit the collective wisdom of the entire organization.

Enable communities of passion. To maximize employee engagement, management systems must facilitate the formation of self-defining communities of passion.

Retool management for an open world. Value-creating networks often transcend the company’s boundaries and render traditional power-based management tools ineffective. New management tools are needed for building complex ecosystems.

I have just begun thinking about this, but here are some questions I believe we should take into extra consideration when we work with open innovation:

• How do you develop, identify and distribute leadership in communities?

• How do we better create internal as well as external markets for ideas, talent, and resources?

• How do we reward people – especially those who only contribute sporadically and periodically – for their contributions to communities and markets?

• How do we create trust within your organization and ecosystem? I presented some ideas on this in my blog post: The Essential Element of Trust in Open Innovation

• How do we change the mindset of executives and managers in order for them better to see the opportunities of open innovation?

• How do we turn the top people into leaders of open innovation rather than followers?

• How do we change the power structures as we move from hierarchies to flat structures? How do we optimize such new power structures?

• How do we manage the balance of personal drive for recognition in times where collaboration becomes even more important?

Working with this has already given me lots of inspiration. I hope you feel the same way…


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