Where Will Management Innovation Take Us?

Management could change a lot in the coming years, says HBS professor Jim Heskett. A few reasons: continued development of the Internet and the transparency and communities it has spawned, and new attitudes toward work. But will innovation in management mostly be confined to entrepreneurs? What do you think? Online forum now closed.
by Jim Heskett

Summing Up

Will management innovation be "pushed" or "pulled"? Competitive organizations in the future will be managed differently. This will require new roles for managers. But according to respondents to this month's column, just how this will occur within the organization is not clear. Many suggested that the kind of management innovation described by Gary Hamel in his new book, The Future of Management, will more likely occur as a result of forces outside the organization.

Tony Gattis described the organization of the future as one that parallels much of what Hamel foresees. He quoted Thomas Malone's writing that "We are in the early stages of an increase of human freedom in business that may, in the long run, be as important a change for businesses as the change to democracy was for governments...." Nari Kannan commented that there is a growing "realization that functional management is an artifact of the 20th Century," that it will decline as organizations are reformed around "processes (that) cut across many functions...." The role of many managers in the future, according to Gerald Nanninga, will involve tasks requiring "no boss/subordinate hierarchy." As he puts it, "The power to fire no longer holds much weight." Peter Thuku believes that the role of "The management of the future will be more of referees among the different teams of the organization."

Others were less enthralled with the possibilities. For example, Michelle Malay Carter commented, "Less management by managers is exactly the wrong thing.... It is our poor understanding and use of hierarchies that has undermined our organizations." Pete DeLisi said, "There seems to be nothing new here.... It's the old dialectic between professional management ... and entrepreneurialism...."

Many commented that it will take time. Paul Williams implied that it will at least require the retirement of Baby Boomers in commenting that "... it appears that Boomer Management is unwilling to rock the boat as they sail into retirement...." Haresh Vaishnu concurred in saying, "It will take the ... passing of the leadership role to (the) next generation .... When the underlying workforce that management is supposed to manage is changing it cannot afford to stand still."

Aiden Kenny posed an interesting dichotomy for us when he said, "(Hamel) implies that it will be management who leads ('pulls') the innovation…. In my opinion the drive for innovation will come from ... newer generations ... (leading to) a 'push' of (management) innovation...." This implies, of course, that newer generations of talent will retain their innovative ways as they mature. Or that important tasks of management will be ceded to those lower in the ranks while newly-minted senior managers still maintain their enthusiasm for management innovation. (Few thought this was likely to happen.) Alternatively, will the drive for management innovation come from a source other than social forces within the organization? As several suggested, these may include new technologies and their mastery for management (or self-management) purposes; intense business competition from practitioners of new management practices; or a natural flow of talent to organizations practicing management innovation. Will management innovation be "pushed" or "pulled"? What do you think?

(To read more, see Thomas Malone, The Future of Work: How the New Order of Business Will Shape Your Organization, Your Management Style and Your Life, HBS Press 2004.)

Original Article

There appears to be a growing impatience with the lack of progress in management innovation and change in the very roles that managers play. Gary Hamel in his new book, The Future of Management, regards management innovation as "anything that substantially alters the way in which the work of management is carried out," including organizational forms. He distinguishes it from operational, product/service, or strategic innovation. Although he maintains that only limited incremental management innovation has taken place since the early part of the twentieth century, he believes the time may be right for significant change. He's not alone. Theodore Zeldin, a British historian who has spent a great deal of time studying the world of work, stated recently in an interview with the Financial Times that "the world of work must be revolutionized to put people—rather than things—at the centre of all endeavors."

Hamel envisions a future in which the goal of management is to build "nimble" organizations in which innovation is everyone's job; there is slack among human and other resources that allows people to think, innovate, and take measured risk outside the core activities of the business; there is more freedom and self-management and less management as we know it; there is more community and less hierarchy; and there is more shared sense of purpose and less need for management "exhortation." He sees many of these things in each of several organizations—including Whole Foods Markets, W. L. Gore, and Google—that he examines in some depth. These organizations share some things in common. All are operated in a team mode, with power given to the teams to run mini-businesses, including hiring, training, and firing personnel. All reward teams at all levels for performance. All provide generally unmonitored time for employees to develop product and service innovations as well as either redesign their jobs or relocate themselves within the organization. All share an extraordinary amount of information at all levels and devote a great deal of resources to making sure that all employees are connected. All "herald a future in which the work of managers is performed less and less by 'managers'." All are among the most outstanding places to work. All produce unusually high profits in their respective industries, which Hamel implies is the result of management innovation. And none are led by MBAs.

Reasons why we might see an unusual amount of management innovation in the coming years would certainly include the continued development of the Internet and the transparency and communities it has spawned, new attitudes toward work and the way it is performed, and global competition and cooperation, much of it fostered by the Internet. But will these forces outweigh the natural tendency of those in control to resist change? Will management innovation largely be confined to entrepreneurs (like those above) with little exposure to traditional management concepts? Even so, can we expect a slow but steady change in the list of most-admired organizations in the next few years as Gen X'ers and Y'ers assume leadership? And how will this all affect the teaching of management, which Hamel argues clings to time-worn management innovations of the twentieth century to which the founders of new-generation firms were largely not exposed? Hamel, admitting that he does not have all the answers, poses our question of the month: "What does the future of management look like to you?" What do you think?

To Read More:

Gary Hamel, The Future of Management (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2007)

John Thornhill, "France's favourite Englishman," Financial Times, February 9-10, 2008, Life and Arts, p. 3.

    • Paul R. Williams
    • President, Think For A Change, LLC.
    The views shared in this article, along with the fundamentals espoused by Gary Hamel in his fantastic new book, are going to become more prominent over the coming years as Baby Boom Management begins to retire and the GenX/GenY Management takes over.

    Unfortunately, as someone who has tried pushing for the type of change described within "The Future of Management," and as a member of GenX, I have discovered that despite the oft-repeated mantra of "Change is Good," most Baby Boomers are not willing change existing management structures.

    Quite frankly, it appears that Boomer Management is unwilling to rock the boat as they sail into retirement and, in some cases, are outright resistant to changes in management philosophy as it runs contrary to their retirement plans of siphoning consulting dollars from organizations based on the same old...same old.

    The future of management will change. Of that, I have no question. My vision of the future includes loosely bound entreprenurial clusters for knowledge sharing, force-ranked prioritized work to eliminate resource fractionalization, liberal allowances of thought-time/future visioning, mandatory vacation time and other yet unknown concepts that make everyone managers of their own work, thus eliminating the need for existing management hierarchical structures.

    "My interest is in the future because I am going to spend the rest of my life there." - Charles Kettering
    • Michelle Malay Carter
    • Vice President, PeopleFit
    If we cannot define what a healthy organization should be, how can we seek to bring it about? Diagnosis and "treatment" is futile without a model of organizational health.

    We denounce "hierarchy" and "management", but these are not inherently bad things. Think about it; bacteria is critical for the digestion of food, and it can kill you. Eliminating bacteria is not possible nor wise. Understanding, managing, and exploiting it is the key.

    Hierarchy is not the problem. It is our poor understanding and use of hierarchies that has undermined our organizations. I've expanded on this thought here: http://www.missionmindedmanagement.com/our-superstitious-fear-of-hierarchy

    Less management by managers is exactly the wrong thing. Employees desire leadership. Management by proxy has cause employees to "check out". I've expanded upon this here: http://www.missionmindedmanagement.com/leadership-by-proxy-causes-low-employee-engagement

    What does a healthy organization look like? How about:

    -Employees matched to roles that match their cognitive capability - not underemployed or over their heads. Right now, about 35% of employees are either underemployed and bored, or over their heads and incapable.

    -Employees afforded managers who can offer satiating leadership and broader context because the managers' cognitive capability is one level greater than that of the employee. Right now, about 39% of employees have a manager who cannot provide them leadership.

    -A work-levels based organizational structure that allows for the natural translation of strategy and values throughout the organization from the conceptual ideas at the executive level to the concrete procedures at the face-to-customer level. This design ensures each employee receives the level of communication and leadership they need to successfully engage in their job. Right now, about 19% of horizontal reporting chains within organizations have too few or too many layers - breaking or weighing down the communication chain.

    -Clearly codified accountabilities and authorities for employees, managers and managers-once-removed which remove conflicts of interest and ambiguity. Right now, two-level managerial accountability systems are nearly non-existent.

    -Clearly codified cross functional accountabilities and authorities to enable the interactions across functions and relieve employees of the need to use force of personality to get things done. Right now, silos persist.

    In summary, what we seek will affect what we find. I daresay, we are seeking the wrong things.

    I blogged about this issue with a poem, Organization Design - Seek and Ye Shall Find. http://www.missionmindedmanagement.com/organization-design-seek-and-ye-shall-find

    I'm OK. You're OK. Let's fix the system.

    • Anonymous
    To me future managers would look more like a teachers, who motivate and inspires fellow 'students'. Provide hints or advises when hurdle occurs.
    • Dr B V Krishnamurthy
    • Director and Executive Vice-President, Alliance Business Academy
    Innovate or perish may be the apt slogan for this century and beyond. When I was a student (I still consider myself to be a student) my Professors would constantly coax us into thinking out of the box. Now that I am a teacher, I have slightly changed the phrase to my students - think out of the window. We need to be able to look at ourselves from the perspective of other stakeholders - customers, suppliers, shareholders, society and the world at large. Such an outlook would force us to change the way we "manage" and would bring to management a focus away from internal stakeholders to external stakeholders.

    One of the largest financial services providers had 8000 customers during the first 90 years of its presence in India. The problem was that the organization concentrated on a niche market - High Net Income Individuals - of whom the numbers were not many in a developing country. When the firm wanted to expand, the Federal Bank placed a rider - for every urban branch, the organization had to open two branches in rural areas. The solution appears simple in hindsight but was a highpoint in innovation when it happened. The restriction was on traditional branches with people. The firm invested in technology and installed ATMs in convenient locations. Coming out of its niche market, the firm also allowed anyone with a relatively small amount to obtain a Debit Card. Today, the number of customers runs into millions, the experiment is to be replicated in other cities, and the minimum balance to be maintained in an account has probably allowed the firm to recover the investment on tech
    nology. For customers, the entire transition has meant freedom to carry out transactions on a 24x7 timeframe. This is a classic example that fits into all four dimensions outlined by Prof. Hamel.

    The move has also forced other players to install ATMs and since space is a constraint, today we have the unusual but very helpful concept of different players co-operating on the use of each other's ATMs. Co-opetition is here to stay.

    In the same industry, one can also find the absence of innovation. A bank has installed ATMs at several locations. In many of these, one can only withdraw cash, one cannot deposit cash. Right next to one of its branches, the bank has three ATMs - not one of them can accept cash. It is difficult to believe that an organization that has thousands of highly-paid employees does not have sufficient common-sense to realize that some customers would also want to deposit cash.

    From a different industry where service is taken for granted, one can cite an example of retrograde innovation. An airline, on more than one occasion in the recent past, has refused to allow physically challenged persons (paraplegics) to board the aircraft unless they signed a bond that would indemnify the airline if anything were to happen to the passenger during the flight. Why doesn't the airline realize that something can happen to anyone anytime - in air or on the ground. How does one get over this head-in-the-mud conservatism and din into the ears of the management of such organizations that we are in the 21st Century?

    I firmly believe that innovation is an attitudinal dimension. And as any behavioral scientist would agree, attitudes are the most difficult to change.
    • Charlie Cullinane
    The future of management will change but very slowly. I feel the main driver of this change will be a 'backlash' against the high cost, lack of flexibility/manuverability, and poor performance of a large percentage of managers and organizations. Teams, units, and business centers will put pressure on the old hierarchal, top down organizations and spread the decision making and money to more people in an organization.

    Look at the banking industry! Big dollars paid for big loses and poor decision making. The concept of a smaller more flexible unit without a high paid head could save the industry millions of dollars and would most likely be as effective (it is hard to imagine them being worse).

    Just as Project Management is growing in many industries "mini-businesses" will grow and flourish in most industries and corporations. It may be inevitable.
    • Gregory Bownik
    • Teaching Partner, Bethel University
    I think the future of management will focus on knowledge management. Those organizations that acquire, process, and disseminate knowledge at a faster rate than others will take the lead in their particular industry. The fields that will practice this form of management will be high-tech and high-touch. Consequently, industries such as biotechnology, nanotechnology, medical devices, and artifical intelligence, and other industries that communicate expertise can expect to benefit from the application of knowledge sharing and knowledge management practices. Furthermore, traditional industries that don't adopt new management practices can expect to slowly fade away as the industrial command and control approach to management becomes more obsolete. A new generation of managers is taking over the leadership of corporate America and this group is not only more diverse as far as race and gender, but has the capacity to bring forth ne
    w knowledge-based trends in management that will take advantage of the creativity and innovation of an increasingly educated American workforce.
    • Bernard Rosauer
    • President, EvenBetterYet
    I believe that for the next 50 years we'll continue to trend toward an environment where there will be fewer 'Mega' corporations and many more smaller corporations. Most 'Mega' corporations will be 'B2B Walmarts' while the smaller corporations create the innovative products, services and experiences for (mostly) yet-to-be-defined groups of consumers to consume. Most or all manufacturing will be done overseas, current distributors will become these B2B 'Mega' Corporations, and the consumers will build their own 'stores' (using that term loosely) that will enable the purchase and consumption of 'best-fit' products and services almost naturally/electronically.

    Okay, so how do we manage our way there with fewer people to choose from? Part of the answer is in the changing production and distribution mentioned above. Mega companies won't need as many managers as they do today because they will be making better use of the knowledge and skills of the ones they do have.... 'best-fit' applies to human capital as it does to products/services and consumption. The Mega company of tomorrow will no longer have bi-polar disorder. It wont have to 'act small' like so many currently are challenged to do. They'll act big and efficient and be proud of it.

    The smaller firm will continue to be the innovator and will constantly need to focus on three things: Human Capital, Customer Capital, and Process/Technology advancement with more focus on consumption vs. provision then we see today. The managers at these firms will naturally have less resistance to change because they will not value becoming 'Mega' or 'as Mega as possible' as many firms do today. Instead they will continue to look for better ways to bond with current customers and grow organically, through their profitable customers, to achieve profitable growth. These firms will be smaller and very profitable and proud of it.

    There are very few people who can imagine a future market that is much different than the one that exists today. This means that where there's opportunity for thought leaders to become action leaders success will follow. Unfortunately, as the first comment above points out, many of the current leaders are boomers who can't or will not change and this will hold their firms back. One firms mistake is another firms opportunity. If innovation and forthought is in your blood, opportunity awaits. Go get 'em.
    • Juliana Moretti
    • student, Imapes college - Brazil
    There's something that we cannot forget in management. It is the focus on the customer, and the first consumers in an organization are the employees. The great challenge is to work with intellectual capital. No more information. We have to put things in action. Without this the innovation will not take us anywhere.
    • biswashree
    • student
    Managers to date perform the basic function of overseeing the entire process and somehow helping along the way.

    But in the future managers will be the people who not only coordinate and encourage innovation in their own company but will also coordinate innovation and cooperation between companies.

    This is occuring because more and more companies are moving towards sharing the inovation process as BOEING has done. This is what will bring success.
    • Anonymous
    Innovation is the only key to reach the pinnacle. Innovation should make everything available for everyone. Innovation will lead to a situation where there will be endless choices to choose from. There will be individual products for all individual consumers.
    • Ulysses U. Pardey, MBA
    • Managing Director, Am-Tech,S.A., Panama, Rep. of Panama
    Most companies are quite different to those mentioned in the introduction and sound and conventional Management formally taught in business schools does not prevent this kind of success to happen which means that there is certainly room for improvement in Management as a profession.

    Allow me to focus my comment more on people-in-the-workplace than on things and time.
    A workplace basically means people, execution, success and mistake, last but not least.
    What do we do with these people-and-their-mistakes? In our ordinary lives (home, school, society) a mistake by definition is wrong, incorrect and when there is an interest at stake, a mistake is used to turn someone down.
    Management, a profession with its own terminology, performed at a workplace, with a lot at stake, is by no means ordinary life.

    I believe that Management, as a profession per se, should have its own definition of what a mistake-doing-your-job-in-the-workplace is ( from now on referred to as mistake-in-the-workplace), and therefore improve its terminology, as it does with ROE, ROI and other business realities we deal with in the workplace. I believe that the profession of Management needs a professional definition which favors profit growth and different from the one we use in our ordinary lives.

    A tentative workable definition for my comment:
    For the sake of an illustration, let's say that in the profession of Management, by definition, a mistake-in-the-workplace is an opportunity to get better in order to favor profit growth and people's well-being.

    Mistakes and the informal and individual intention to learn from them are nothing new in organizations; however, what could be new and useful is the way Management, as a profession, deals formally and professionally with people-and-their-mistakes in the workplace. A workable definition turned into a professional-Management-tool widely spread, accepted and practiced in companies regardless of their size and place, could be among the most useful, people-centered, new and complementary approaches to improve the profession of Management.

    Such a formal professional-Management-tool could favor the establishment of the appropriate-mindset in the workplace and Management which could allow people to grow as better professionals and human beings. This is easy to talk and write about and hardly possible to establish as a generally practiced standard-Management- tool in a company because of the competition for promotions and career advancements.

    As long as mistakes are used to turn people down, personal interests might prevail over the company profit growth.

    It seems as if the professional Management definition of mistake-in-the-workplace (not just a mistake which induces confusion), evaluations, career advancements, personal interests and company profit growth are deeply-related in the workplace and a key success factor to stir these items in the appropriate direction of profit-growth and people's well-being might be the support from the Board, Management, Employees and Academia to achieve a workable professional definition of mistake-in-the-workplace in the profession of Management for the benefit of all.

    I believe that such a professional definition with such a support could become an accepted fact in the world of Management. With this device in place, it is highly possible that this Management tool could be one the drivers of innovations for people in the workplace of a sound and conventional Management set.
    • Haresh Vaishnav
    • Global Strategic Planning, EDS
    It will take the emergence of more Googles and Whole Foods and passing of the leadership role to next generation for management innovation to take hold on a wider scale. Anyone who has undertaken the task of change management knows how difficult it is to convince people of the need for change (innovation). It is even more difficult when those people have to give up control as is the case here.

    But management innovation is inevitable and is going to happen - albeit slowly. When the underying workforce that management is supposed to manage is changing it cannot afford to stand still.
    • Abner de Oliveira Campos
    • Trainee in External Trade, Wobben Wind Power - Enercon
    The secret is to involve the team, customer and suppliers in such a way that all are felt responsible directly for the success of the project.
    • John Pillsbury
    • Chief Business Development, Destiny Media Technologies
    Yes, management innovation is invaraiably intertwined with product innovative. We all know we need to think and behave differently (both individually and as group) to create something different. The problem exists in how to change management, especially without a major crisis - which often forces change. Although I guess one role of management is to foster mini-crisis events on regular basis of stimulate the changes we seek.

    We as a software development company exist by change, yet sell stability (products that work without bugs). So we need versions, or steps to innovation. Make a change, stablize it , sell it, get feedback, and cycle again. There are many bumps in this interation process, as it certainly is not evolutionary. But maybe the process of smoothing, and systematizing the process is the not the point, as it seems that too smooth, and comfortable equals little innovation.

    My point, let's be thankful for eruptions, storms, crisis events, disruptive technologies, which are the ingredients that with effective crisis management lead to the very innovations we seek. Don't domesticate the management team, but let them face the outside wild elements together, and the stories and rewards will be be great.
    • Sam Caruso
    • VP- Supply Chain
    I have not experienced that much management innovation at small companies, quite the opposite; management of successful companies tend to be conservative in nature. They may innovate in other areas, but management structures are, or become, very traditional as the company grows. How managers innovate organizational structures to accommodte the new generation of workers will not be apparent for many years. Then it will be common to most, as it evolves to what it will become.

    Contrary to some opinion, baby-boomers changed the work place in many ways, making it possible for later generation companies to become more creative in how they manage their workforce. When most baby boomers entered the workplace, companies, large and small, were very much in the command-and-control mode of operation, an outgrowth of the WWII military service that many managers of that era experienced. Also, the success of Japanese companies in the 1980's, which tended to be more democratic at the shop floor level, where workers could, for instance, stop an assembly line if they detected a problem, largely contributed to the evolution of American based firms.

    What freedom and democratic measures that people now have were largely not in practice prior to the 1980's. It is important to remember this because it was a slow evolution that not all companies evolved into, and it was a combination of factors that resulted in a changed workplace. Read selections from the HBR book "On Human Relations" published during this time, to see how management was structured during the 1970's, when the articles for this book were published. The evolution of a practice, such as management organization, is hard to predict because it will be the result of many factors unknown to us at this time. The only thing we know is that it will be different.
    • Marketing Specialist, Department of Water Resources
    The management in the future definitely has to understand its responsibility to work out solutions for the problems being faced by unorganized sectors. USA may have seen the impact of management and its innovations in managing resources, but in the third world still there are areas where management can bring about huge change, and it is required for improving the livelihoods. In my view I agree with C.K. Pralhad's bottom of the pyramid approach which definitely going to trigger growth. The management has to undergo change in terms of building its capabilities in understanding its role in the changed context where men are going to live in different geographies separated with distance but yet so near with the communication tools which have emerged out of technological innovations such as Internet and mobile phones. There will be more focus required for the management in addressing issues such as poverty, gender issues and relationship between individuals working in an organization with varied backgrounds and nationalities. The new management should teach the managers with such inputs as how to develop balance between their left and right brain and increase the power of their intuition.
    • Gerald Nanninga
    • VP, Retail Ventures
    In the past, management was most often the managing of people under a type of contractual relationship, i.e. boss and employee. The boss had the power of controlling the employee's destiny (to keep or fire) as a key management tool.

    In the future, most management will center around managing projects, business partners and customer relations. In these three cases, there is no contractual relationship--no boss/subordinate hierarchy. The power to fire no longer holds much weight.

    As a result, new management styles will require pursuasion skills on more of a peer-to-peer level. If you can only manage based on leveraging contractual power, then you will become obsolete.

    How soon? Well, there is an old saying that "everyone wants more prisons, but nobody wants them built in their back yard." Similarly, we all want more effective management, but not if it affects my job.

    There's another old saying that "what gets taught in business schools does not become common practice in business until those students rise to CEO level." Hence, it could be awhile until the resistance goes away.
    • Sherri Dohemann
    The competition for much needed innovation in products and real lasting ties to customers for both input on product development and sustainable sales, which all require real talent, will cause a shift toward talent management-beyond, however also inclusive of just the Human resource function in my view. I believe that leading management will start focusing on the potential of relationships of networks and people, not relying solely on physical capital and things. This will require a change and new ways of doing things akin to the way "Great Places to Work" list toppers operate.
    • Pete DeLisi
    • President, Organizational Synergies
    There seems to be nothing new here in Gary Hamel's (and in some other) comments. It's the old dialectic between professional management at one end and entrepreneurialism at the other end. The reality is that we haven't been able to figure out how to deal with the excesses of each position. For example, professional management provides great accountability and control, but at the expense of innovation and self-starting behavior. Those who advocate for the more enrepreneurial position miss the lessons of companies like Digital Equipment Corporation, who was indeed the exemplar of that type of culture, but destoyed itself through an excessively empowered way of working. There are no free lunches and no absolutes in the world of management. We live with tradeoffs and need to adjust our thinking to dealing with the vagaries of organizational life.
    • Vanitha Rangganathan
    • Malaysia
    A long while back, the management world had a debate of sorts when it came to differentiating 'creativity' and 'innovation'. Varied definitions abound, affecting corporate vision-mission statements worldwide. It was a raging battle to determine which was more superior than the other; which was deemed to have more value-add and thus, would be a definitive characteristic of a holistically successful organisation.

    From an organisational development perspective, the 'innovative' trait was and still is considered a must-have among those in the higher echelon of a typical organisation whilst it was considered acceptable that those in the lower rung possessed 'creativity' as a crucial competency. Thus, a barrage of efforts and training intervention are usually employed to hone the knowledge & skills to drive this innovative trait to a greater level among this pool of resources.

    And - it stops right here.

    What's sorely lacking in this scenario is that the individuals populating the higher rung are almost always either due for retirement or busy sowing their seeds in other competitor organisations offering more lucrative paychecks-benefits in view of their years of expertise and industry-specific prowess. Without sound succession planning and talent management initiatives in place, the organisation is set to lose these so-called 'innovative' resources.

    I work in an organisation which prides itself on efforts to put succession planning in place. Very estimable efforts indeed, however, I'm continually amazed that through my 7-year stint working with these senior resources, I've dealt with the same faces, same views on change and innovation, same pre-determined perspectives on how the organisation should be run. It's a disillusionment of sorts when you have that queasy feeling in your stomach when you recognise that at 30, all things innovative -- including that much-needed shift in power from the Boomers to us millenials, isn't necessarily going to unravel quite simply because despite claims to create change, the decision-making layers are still very much caught up in archaic and stereotypical management values.

    I'm certain that this scenario isn't identical in newer organisations and industries, but if the grass isn't greener on the other side as well, it could be very disheartening for us Gen'ers who crave change and a stronger voice in leadership and decision-making.

    At this point in my career life, I cringe when I hear the word 'innovation' being advocated nonchalantly. Not by fellow Gen'ers really desperate for innovative change but by older timepieces who think they 'innovate' because it probably still sounds like such a fancy definition.
    • Marc Stierand
    • PhD Student, Strathclyde Business School
    Michael Polanyi said that personal knowledge--which is an essential part of innovation--is strongly influenced by tradition; the tradition from whom we learned and learn. Accepting that Polanyi was right, his thoughts can help to explain very pragmatically why we have so little management innovations.

    First, the academic education of managers is grounded in a culture that supports mediocrity and struggles to capitalize on excellency, because universities are occupied by creating an academic mass instead of a class.

    Second, the knowledge of shareholders, on the other hand, is subjective in nature and therefore underlies no mutual control, respectively benchmark. The only commonality is the highest possible profit and this means to limit uncontrolled managerial decision-making in order to stop mistakes happening. Managers therefore "innovate" for shareholders, because they know that successful innovations emerge most often out of popularity rather than sophistication.

    In consequence, this either shows us that we believe to have gained the whole truth about management and therefore know what is the perfect (safest?) condition or we are so scared of doing mistakes that we seem paralyzed in our actions. Both cases, nevertheless, are poison for innovation. If we reach perfection (and this is a vague and academically dangerous terminology) we kill creativity, because there is simply no place for it; the same is true when we are scared to make mistakes.

    These few examples based on Polanyi's epistemology can only open some dimensions of the innovation phenomenon--accepting this limitation of our knowledge, however, would be a first step to allow innovation happening. The unquestioned efforts to find ad hoc recipes how to "cook" the next innovation can end fatally--and probably will!
    • C.C. Yuen
    • CEO, AussieBoxCreations
    In the (very near) future - next month, next year, next 5 years - the World Wide Web is going to completely re-define the term, "Entrepreneur".
    An entrepreneur is an INDIVIDUAL who has an idea and a bit of Web know-how - which could be researched through he Web, generally for free - and is able to bring it to fruition via the Web:

    He/she requires minimal capital (funding): and bears minimal risk - capital funding wise - except the he/she nonetheless still has to bear the substantial risks of having his/her ideas stolen...

    Since project start up cost is minimal, it means failed projects are not too devastating - if they may be regarded as devastating at all - but a learning curve.
    In all, the entrepreneur of Tomorrow does NOT (absolutely) require any formal education (he/she could be self-taught - generally for FREE - thanks to the Web) or fancy qualifications.

    All he/she needs is a creative mind, and a flexible OPEN mindset; and, last but not the least, to be able to succeed, good TIME management is essential, so is a healthy body.

    What role does FORMAL Management play in an one/two/three-person enterprise - NIL - until that enterprise grows big, hits big times: catches the eyes of the big guys in town who want to take-over it. But, management would be role of the hired outside managers, the original owner-entrepreneur does NOT have to get his hands dirty if he doesn't wish to.
    • Anonymous
    The real question, as I see it, is not a lack of innovative spirit or a durth of innovative concepts for organization's to pursue, it is the limited number of top executives with the courage to pursue these concepts.

    Innovation implies some measure of risk and, in my experience, executives are not paid to pursue risk but to insulate their organization's from it.

    The key need is a greater number of CEO's who are willing to invest in and support the incubator environments necessary for true innovation to take hold.
    • Dapo Ipadeola
    • ASM
    Whenever and wherever management becomes just an oversight function over established procedures today or in the future, innovation cannot co-habit. However that is what management has mostly become. Managers are like administrators who do not see much outside the box of theories and established practice.
    It is certain that the degree to which an organisation and its management innovates and encourages innovation would be directly proportional to the success it can post.
    • Diane Dilmore
    • Project Assistant, Environmental
    "Flattening out the heirarchy" has been touted by colleges in Management centered learning for years... but I have yet to witness it. I worked in Gov't Contract work for 15 years before making the change to a place I thought would be more forward thinking. The more mergers and acquisitions take place, the higher the food chain grows. Opportunities for advancement happen only for those with tenure, not talent.

    Managers should act like mentors, sure, but I can do my job without a manager leading the way. I'd rather have one notice the leaders and not the followers. Employee Suggestion programs should allow for innovation company-wide, not just those comments that allow for another water dispenser on the other end of the building to "save time" and add to "efficiency."

    I'd like to see managers who lead by example and not more concerned about what upper management thinks. Also, who wants a manager who is there only at review time or when the big boss shows up. Until the layers of management lessen and more empowered employees are developed and encouraged to be leaders, Management will stay as stagnant as it's been.
    • Sean Fahey
    • CEO, Belts and Beyond
    I run my company and strive to run it more and more in this way, and I have an MBA! This is the way to go and in the retail world we are pioneering most of these concepts in a major way!
    Another great book on this is The Future of Work, Thomas Malone!

    I love seeing these kinds of articles and discussions, the ones who change lead the way while the others wonder what just happened...
    • Will Pearce
    • Management Consultant
    As a practitioner in the organizational performance field (including process design and continuous improvement), I remember looking with more than a little interest at Hammer's concept of BPR when it came out. In the end, though, I decided that BPR was just the organizational equivalent of brain transplant surgery--almost all risk with a low probability of any reward (let alone a reward sufficient to justify the damage done while removing the old brain). The consequent BPR disasters of the early 90s confirm that assessment (despite the BPR supporters who protest, "But if only those projects had been done correctly...").

    It occurs to me that the reason BPR sounded tenable is that most managers and executives who committed to it really didn't know how to identify a capable process, let alone design one. Consequently, they came to the conclusion that the only solution to incapable processes was to totally start over (and throw a lot of technology into the mix, since that was the route to the future).

    Do you see the analogy? If you don't understand what makes a hierarchy capable, your first choice of fixing your organization design is to throw out the hierarchy and go with something else, rather than making the hierarchy capable.

    Good luck with that.
    • Peter Thuku
    • Accountant, BAT
    The management of the future will be more of referees among the different teams of the organization. The 'coaches' of various teams will be appointed by the various team members.
    • Evert Martens
    • Addestino
    As stated in some of the comments above, knowledge transfer will remain important for those who want to achieve growth by innovation. But having access to information and even adapting general information to company-specific situations will not be enough to outperform competitors. There is the need to translate al this information into action.

    With all modern communication devices at our service, we drown in information and hardly get/take the time to properly process this information. The general focus for information processing should be:

    Knowledge <--> Skills <--> Performance/Profit

    This process is highly iterative due to ever changing knowledge and competition. The skills of companies and their human resource continuously need to anticipate on these changes. It doesn't really matter if this concerns customer knowledge, technological knowledge, etc.

    The task of new management is to oversee, interpret, organize and implement knowledge and create added value by doing so. Within such a situation, coordination of people, knowledge, skills and many other things cannot be left to a team without assigning a leader. Somebody has to take the lead and responsibility in the continuous transformation processes where companies go through. The team should show a high level of involvement and should be enabled to influence the future direction. Such a organization needs to be managed to ensure any structured outcome.

    In the end, most important is the quality and pace of innovation, which has to be at least as good and fast as those of the competitors. Once again, this should be coordinated and monitored. This requires accurate and fast decision-making by people with the right competences to do so.

    So management has to adapt its competences to enhance company performance by innovation, but the end of management is not at all nearby in my vision...
    • Anonymous
    The future of management and innovation is capacity in the information sytems and communication technology.
    • Kapil Kumar Sopory
    • Company Secretary, SMEC (India) Private Limited
    Management innovation is not visibly a speedy process. Management is taken for granted and generally innovation is attributed to technical systems only. The focus is on the perceived needs of customers who may expect better quality product at reasonable cost and even expeditious servicing.
    As I perceive, notwithstanding the qualifications earned at business schools, a gulf exists between being nomenclatured as 'manager' and effectively performing the managerial role.

    Even at the recruitment stage, enough emphasis is not laid on understanding the managerial psyche of the candidate expected to start as a manager. A variety of skills are needed to be a successful manager. As most of the managers remain bogged down (laptop is somewhat of a sinner) with the basic work (which is not subjected to close overseeing), they have (in fact they fail to prioritise) little time to mentor, coach, guide and 'manage' their juniors. Thus the juniors perform to the best of their limited ability which at times leads to jeopardy.
    Proper downward delegation of routine functions is also conspicuous by its absence. Many managers are not attuned to satisfying the queries and brainwaves of various stakeholders. On top of all this, accountability for avoidables is also not implemented in a misguided notion that retaining 'talent' (mistaken as manpower generally) is top most priority and, therefore, it is not prudent to pass critiques.

    A manager's prime role is to plan for results and to nurture the team to achieve the goals within the fixed time frame. Proper planning and replanning , ongoing critical appreciation of juniors' performance, getting guided from lessons learnt and analysed in depth,self introspection, accepting own mistakes, walking the talk and focus on short as well as long-term goals are some other important managerial traits.

    At times some think that management inovation will occur of its own and need not be a subject of concern. Not so and hence this conception needs to be erased sooner than when failures start to confront.
    • Dr. Antonio C. Roldan,Jr.
    • Managing Director, HRD Philippines
    As a veteran HROD practitioner, I envision the blossoming in the future of Sustainably Excellent Organizations (SEO) marked by management philosophies, leadership, systems, technologies and cultures which are 1) EFFECTIVE, 2) EFFICIENT, 3) ETHICAL and 4) ENJOYABLE both in the short and long term. For these are the winning types of organizations in the 21st century: those who have the human capital and institutional capabilities to harmonize the competing values of 1) individual freedom and social responsibility; 2) trust and accountability; 3) economic prosperity and environmental safety; 4) change and continuity; 5) moral idealism and business pragmatism.
    • Tory Gattis
    • Founder, President, and Social Systems Architect, OpenTeams LLC
    Here's our vision of the next generation "Entrepreneurial Organization" at OpenTeams:

    The fast-changing technology industry of Silicon Valley was the birthplace of this new high-speed economy. But now almost all industries are facing the same intense pace of change. What are the lessons other industries can learn from the Silicon Valley ecosystem? Adaptive speed. Empowered employees with passion and engagement. Bottom-up innovation in all aspects of the firm - not just product development. The camaraderie and energy of small teams. Challenges that stretch talent to their full potential. It's time to bring this entrepreneurial spirit into organizations in other industries, as well as our government and non-profits.

    From rigid org charts to fluid operations models and project teams

    From employees as cogs in a machine, offshored to the lowest bidder, to creative, empowered team members

    From narrow, constraining job descriptions to a dynamic, tradable portfolio of operational, project, and leadership roles that tap people's full potential

    From static, stressful jobs to an ever-changing mix of roles to maintain optimal productive Flow in the zone between bored and burned-out

    From tension-filled boss-subordinate relationships to an array of internal clients for my services

    From reactive top-down assignments to proactive bottom-up initiatives by self-organizing teams

    From supervisors controlling departments to internal venture capitalists sponsoring projects

    From rigid budgets to flexible, investable pools of capital

    From resource allocation via political games to internal free markets

    From siloed and opaque to open and transparent organizations

    From power based on position to power based on respect, trust, and expertise

    Overall, managers shift their mindset from "I run the people in my domain" to "I get results/ROI from a budget" (similar mindset to venture capitalists or private equity). Employees shift from "I work for a boss and stay confined to my job description" to "I provide services/roles for an evolving portfolio of initiatives."

    The benefits:


    Larger pool of innovative initiative options from all levels of the organization

    Persistence and resiliency

    Options continuously evolve; not killed by a single "no" (similar to how startups continuously evolve/adapt their business plan)

    Can be tapped at any time by any sponsor from anywhere in the organization


    Organization resources flow more easily towards opportunities, as well as to address problems early

    Managers can't hoard talent

    Employee Engagement

    Can be more proactive, instead of simply reactive to the boss

    Increase of voluntary commitments over forced assignments

    Evolving portfolio of initiatives easier to keep in optimal "Flow" (not bored or burned-out)

    Increased productivity

    Employees evaluated on breadth of initiative portfolio instead of narrow job descriptions -> incentive to "stretch"

    Fewer unproductive meetings: Employees bill their time to initiatives; unnecessary employees at excessively long meetings increase initiative costs and reflect against manager ROI

    Encourages more efficient group time utilization via collaborative spaces

    Reduces email overload

    Reveals hidden institutional knowledge as a corporate asset

    "We are in the early stages of an increase in human freedom in business that may, in the long run, be as important a change for businesses as the change to democracy was for governments... It won't mean the end of management, but management will no longer be about command and control."
    -Dr. Thomas Malone, MIT, "The Future of Work"
    • Ulysses U. Pardey, MBA
    • Managing Director, Am-Tech,S.A., Panama, Rep. of Panama
    Where Will Management Innovation Take Us?

    Allow me further comments in more general terms on this subject.
    A workable definition for this purpose. Let's say broadly speaking that:

    Management is the solution of the need-to-gear people, things and time to get somewhere.

    The more adequate is the solution; the better fulfilled is the need.
    Improvements of the solution (Management) are necessary when the need-to-gear calls for them. The need-to-gear can lead to improvements because of:

    more competition and cooperation for what favors getting to that somewhere which could call for i.e. drivers of innovations in the workplace or among workplaces

    profit growth requirements

    market conditions

    limitations such as and not limited to ethical and legal matters, people's well-being, their feelings and expectations and the choice of a way of life, which could call for i.e. the protection of the population (investors, managers, employees, consumers, else)

    the availability of resources

    Many institutions teach about Management, but no institution regulates the exercise of the profession of Management per se. Is it necessary and if so, how? What might appropriately help regulate in real-life-business-situations the exercise of Management could be the answers to the questions "Can business be run without Management" or "Can business performance be improved without the improvement of Management?" Straight answers to these questions might help move toward a workable frame to understand Management better.
    If the answers are yes, then why bother?
    If the answers are that business can not be run without Management or that business performance can not be improved without the improvement of Management, then Management innovations are a must in the world of business and useful and profitable innovations are just a matter of time and enthusiasm.

    What about an initiative for a supervisory conventional Management innovation-need-based institution, centered on people-and-profit growth?

    Could, as a result, profit growth and people's well-being (in the workplace, else) be a job requirement and be part of the professional-and-personal interest of Management? Could, consequently, the Management-solution of a company-member be certified, publicly and professionally, according to the standards of this institution? Because of this, company-members might be able to market themselves better to attract and retain talent based on its Management-solution. This in turn could become an innovation useful for competitive advantage in the employment industry and for profit growth.

    This is a brief possible outline of how such an organization could help regulate in real-life-business-situations the exercise of the profession of Management-as-a-solution centered on people-and-profit growth.

    As people live in society, it is reasonable to believe that Management is called to be the noblest, naturally-generated, forever-lasting humankind activity and, therefore, noblesse oblige entrusts us to keep it that way for the benefit of all nations and generations.

    Thank you for the opportunity.
    • Anonymous
    Top managers sometimes are faced with problems and the solutions they proffer to these problems are not good. Some of them are scared of throwing the challenge out to the lower staff because they know more than them.

    Most of them have lost touch with reality and they need to wake up. Give others the chance of bringing out new ideas and putting them into use.
    • Neville Suzman
    • CIO, Intelidata
    I would like to take approach a response from the IT Enabling side...

    Can IT deliver value? If IT can position as a strategic partner and communicate the value (economics) to the greater business units, then IT can be seen as an innovator, and enabler of value.

    It must be seen as a two sided horse, Business/IT alignment, both business units and IT units must commit to this alignment process.

    But what about Capacity? Forrestor confirmed in a recent study that budget allocated to maintenance and operations is now 80%

    IT is not effective enough at deploying resources. Most IT organizations admit that: they still offer one-size-fits-all services to the business; they do not charge back their services; and they have no mechanism to slow demand other than drawing a line at the capacity limit.

    IT is losing its capacity to innovate because of its maintenance burden. Forrester?s most recent spending survey of 400 IT decision-makers revealed a disheartening change: The average percent of budget allocated to maintenance and operations is now 80%, up from 76% in 2005.2

    IT experiences "shrinking" in its innovative capacity, the portion of the budget available to do new work.

    IT lifecycle role, moves through the enabling of growth, improving of business margins and finally to reduce fixed and variable costs.
    Should the IT Lifecycle simply stop here? Can IT react?

    Should the IT Lifecycle simply stop here? Can IT react?
    The last phase (reduce fixed and variable costs) as outlined in the IT demand curves, compliments the trends we see in the marketplace whereby companies are once again shifting back to a centralized model of service delivery. Do we work towards a blended approach? and Allow for the freedom of projects that bring efficiencies to the business? The blended approach (Middle out) where the central group provides all key standards, communication mechanisms, monitoring infrastructure, and encourages teams to use it to build around services that can be shared.
    IT must align with the business and establish the core objective of delivering, communicating and measuring the value of IT services to the business units. If the Business only recognizes "half the picture" of IT Governance (Control and expenditure), and not the value enabling delivery of efficiencies to the business, IT will remain in the last part of the curve, shrinking budgets, additional demand and loss of recognition as a strategic value enabler to the business.
    • Geoff Roberts
    • Catalyst, Hidden Resources
    If we look at the topic through the window of Spiral Dynamics (Clare Graves' work as 'popularised' by Don Beck and Chris Cowans) we see a societal shift from Orange to Collaborative Green.

    The 'Win at any Cost' mentality of the 80s (Red) was reined in by the various regulatory bodies (Blue) resulting in a new 'let's see how far we can bend the rules' approach (Orange). As we move to a more collective/collaborative approach the basis of control changes as well.

    Control, for which read management, becomes as much to do with what 'they' will accept and in a relatively prosperous economy (it still is, albeit perhaps in a dip) memberhsip of organisations becomes much more voluntary requiring a managemnt/leaderhip approach more akin to that of the Third Sector than conventional businesses.

    To go back to one of the old models - Legitimate Power will be seen as less significant; Power based on what you can do for me will become more important. The skills of collaboration become ever more important.
    • Fernando Curado, Ph.D.
    • President, msci Consultoria
    Some simple comments from a country that had to learn to create some new management practices due to high inflation, many small and medium size companies, and tough competition from world class companies.

    Management innovation has to increase. Speed, connection and the importance of intangibles are facts of life today. The need for adaptability is another twist to look at the need for new ways to manage organizations.

    Although the current stage of GM is not a very good example, it should be noted that many current GM officers worked in Brazil during the high inflation period. This means that they had to learn to be adaptive and to cope with change.

    From what I can see here, management innovation will have to go through organizations that have excellent communication methods (with and without IT gear), teams with more autonomy to cope with market changes at the customer/client interface level.

    Of course, management instruction will have to change.

    Fernando Curado, Ph.D.,
    Sao Paulo, Brazil
    • Karen Dempster
    • Director, KD&Assoc. Creating Change
    I believe change will occur as Generational boundaries break down through those who embrace change - not only entrepreneurs in the classic sense, i.e. profit seekers and/or aware of their aims - gravitate to use the global opportunities for communication and viral or internet driven knowledge base. But will these forces outweigh the natural tendency of those in control to resist change? IMO, Yes - they will be swept forward in the flood.

    Led from the ground up, in a revolution of how we measure work and productivity we will see work and life/interest factors enhanced. Out will be the time-dominant measures. "In" will be the flexible, what can be produced-what do we value in terms of intellectual input measurements. Global work teams and flexible hours will compliment our driven interest in our work topics. Techno change is also essential to support this in terms of basic tasks, and robotics I feel will become so much more commonplace.
    • Rudolf O. Rinze
    • President, Combucasa
    I find myself sort of close to Paul R. Williams comment. My point is that the future is here right now, presenting us with inmense burdens in the way of worldly topics such as: the matter with key resources until this date in very high demand, i.e. oil and what to do with all the seeming alternative substitutes plus the compounding factor of the ubiquitous real or fantastic environmental concerns; the explosive international politics/relations; globalization and cultural barriers vrs. global multi-community cooperation; brain power, artificial intelligence and the exponential growth of mass media communications; the fashion (internet enhanced) towards self managed working individuals and groups thus promoting horizontal models of managing organizations; not to say the least of the perceptible changes in working relationships, anyplace working place vrs. office headquarters and non routine schedules, etc., etc.

    These matters are bearing undisputably on the path towards what can be perceived as totally different approaches, paradigm shift and necessarily new ways of thinking and doing, hence managing under significantly changed approaches, methodologies and philosophies. Boomers or X or Y generation individuals or groups are in dire need of adopting innovative attitudes/disciplines to keep going along this "future now".
    • Eric Johnson Wildbear
    • Principal, AlderSpruce Sustainability Consulting Group
    Where will management innovation take us? Hopefully to a higher level of consciousness in business. Most likely, it will likely be Integrally informed, with leaders such as John Mackey, Chairman and CEO of Whole Foods (http://in.integralinstitute.org/talk.aspx?id=644) inspiring other leaders in other industries.

    As leaders, managers and academic programs (http://www.fielding.edu/omd/concentration_is.asp) become more informed by Integral Theory, innovations in management theory and practice will be more coherent across multiple realms, allowing managers to make more effective decisions and take more effective action. Managers will be making more informed decisions for the business and crafting healthier workplaces for all stakeholders; shareholders, employees, suppliers, the community, the government and the environment.

    Even as our resource availability changes radically over the next decade or two, the Integrally informed leaders will be steering changes in their organizations that will build sustainable organizations, positively affecting all stakeholders and determining which organizations will be dominant, not only in business, but in creating lasting, positive change for the world.
    • Anonymous
    While the consultants call for transformational change and rail at the laggards at the wheel of all our major businesses we will continue to operate under the same principles we have always operated under. Our organizations and management practices will be shaped by our goals. We will undertake risky change when we percieve rewards merit the risk. And, we will continue to get more scientific about management; although, we have a long way to go.

    As long as our goal is shareholder return, our organization and management practices will be optimized to achieve shareholder return. I expect our goals will shift as corporations become as big as some nations and we will incorporate a greater element of social responsibility. I personally would like to see the wellbeing of society and the planet be the goal but the market does not reward this unless it is accompanied by quarterly profit growth.

    Management is slowly moving from a craft to a discipline with more science but we have a long way to go. As we make this shift and can do a better job of assuring results, we will see more rapid adoption of new management practices and probably some significant shifts in our business models.

    But, it won't happen fast. The percieved risks are too great. It's relatively easy for an entrepreneurial start-up to adopt an innovative set of management practices and the associated culture. It's exponentially more risky to undertake the same shift in most Fortune 500 companies.

    Personally, I am a student of management practices ranging from TQM and re-engineering to R.O. to complexity theory and use many of the practices as an executive. However, at the front of my mind is always ... what is our company's goal, how big is the potential reward and how big is the risk. If we shift the perception of these three things, we create the opportunity for management innovation.
    • Richard A. "Tony" Eckel
    • President, Systems Synergy, Inc.
    One is struck by the essential theory advanced here: Workers have sufficient natural management talent to render specialist managers irrelevant (ouch!). The management school that espouses this philosophy will be doomed from day one. In any event, it is hardly worth considering that a class of professionals, deeply indoctrinated in the pursuit of self-interest, as the natural state of commerce, would innovate themselves out of existence!

    The issue is not "How to innovate in management", rather: "How do we customize management to best support the business to which it is applied." Like any other capital, management assets need to be productive to be of value, and various applications of management assets results in very different outcomes. As in the "long tail", smaller more specialized organizations need far less management specialization to be optimally profitable because they reduce competition through smaller market focus, where management talent produces limited differential return. Tightly held (private) companies, as well, need less management specialization because the owners are highly coupled to the business operations relative to large publicly held companies, where management simply acts as the factor for the absentee owners, usually without the personal bond to the business that true ownership provides.

    As any second year business student will quote (with awe by the brilliant ones) - it is through concentration of execution that profits are maximized. The issue is that in the mature enterprise, efficiently and economy are tied to scale; the usage of specialized labor in all capacities to maximize the efficiencies of production. Management is simply another one of those specializations.

    While innovation is imperative to competitive advantage, it is probably more often applied to management in a fashion that justifies status quo over real progress. The more specialized the management function becomes - the less likely it is to be eliminated or coveted, thus producing the ultimate inefficiency, the lifetime job.

    What the examples seem to imply is that all workers should recognize and work toward a common goal of enterprise success and share in that success; this is the core of the self-management philosophy. The businesses, presented as examples, are not mature and therefore not amenable to the concept of economies of scale. Product development (Gore & Google) has always been recognized as a process that needs concentrations of intellectual creativity rather than route specialists. Whole Foods stores are still a niche market with insufficient scale to justify the overhead of dedicated management. Try to use their nimble techniques in a large manufacturing operation or shipping organization and watch chaos explode!

    If there were to be a TRUE management innovation, it would be developing objective means of measuring and optimizing configuration and performance of the management organization, for various markets, products, and economies. This would go a long way toward providing the coupling between management, boards of directors, and shareholders that seems most rare in business today.

    Which brings a conclusion: When management's interest is restructured to naturally include and comprehend their value to the enterprise in the rewards they receive: that will be innovation.
    • Sivakumar Alaguchami
    • Quality Lead & Black Belt, Macmillan India Ltd
    I strongly agree with the thoughts of Gary and believe that current management hierarchical practice would reduce in the near future and would depend more on people with innovative minds and the right attitude. This is going to help management to innovate and attract the right people for demanding organizational behaviour.
    • Aidan Kenny
    • www.1millionusers.com
    Is it a "push" or a "pull"?

    While there are many examples of leading edge companies adopting innovative practises, in fact most companies are managed by insiders who have worked their way up the organisation. These "home-grown" leaders work hard to develop the necessary skills to adapt to their new found positions, however their focus is on effectively performing in their management roles rather than driving innovation at the management level.

    In the above article, you quote Hamel as saying that he "...envisions a future in which the goal of management is to build "nimble" organisations in which innovation is everyones job...". This implies that it will be management who lead ("pull") the innovation.

    In my opinion the drive for innovation will come from lower down within the organisations, as the newer generations of workers join the ranks of companies. The latest entrants into the workplace are used to "information at lightening speed", instant decision making and getting their own way. They will invest more time in redesigning their jobs to be what they want it to be than in fitting in with the norms. This will lead to a "push" of innovation within all companies rather than a "pull" of innovation that is management led.

    The real challenge will be how to manage the innovation.
    • Rajeev B N
    • Engineer, Bangalore
    Management has always been what people at high positions who can decide on keeping or removing resources and investments think. Whatever management books and practice preaches we have very few leaders at the top who will change their decisions because someone down their level has suggested something new and different. It is common experience that everyone follow what the top guy profess. Management Innovation if any has always been accepted, if that is in line with the top few people in the organization. Organizations have failed to make every employee feel that they are the owners of their work.

    So as long as this setup exists, there will be resistace to change in management styles. For experiencing new styles of management, we need to dismantle the mindset of managers that they are the gatekeepers of all good things and their teammates are problem creators. The most improtant aspect of change is acceptance of the fact that anyone can come up with a brilliant idea in the organisation, but the current mindset is that I am always more intelligent than my junior colleague.

    So for innovation in management to get recognised and accepted into practice, we need a open and accomodative mindset from managers. If this is not getting evident in coming years, then the innovative idea and its generators will take different route like leaving the organisation, setting up own practice, shifting departments etc which in any way will affect the organization.

    Innovations and new practices in management will eventually provide more space for individuals to be creative by making them more and more independent and bringing down the hierarchy. The interactions between individuals, peers and with seniors will be redefined based on the value of the work and knowledge involved in that work. Commanding respect by virtue of being senior will give way to earning trust which will redefine relations at workplace. The market will also have huge effect on relations and managing them will take the end to end vertical value chain rather than predefined roles inside an organization.
    • Sandeep
    • Principal, Nihilent
    First thought is that, most of the times innovative individuals fails to produce because of the fact that they are not collaborative within a team and thus not aligned to org objectives. We still see load of orgs working around HEROES and CEO's often are reluctant to tackle this issue as it works perfectly in the first level of delegation. What organizations loose out is on the fact that one of the key elements for moving towards I-ORG (Innovative Org) is the framework for knowledge dissemination and sharing; does not get inculcated.

    Second thought, as Hamel puts it "innovation is everyone's job" and it happens only if managers make themselves redundant and review on their delegation effectiveness so that he/she would take ownership of innovation and are able to think more strategically. Subsequently you would see the next level emerge!

    We all sometimes are slaves of processes which are evolved from industry best practices but fail to derive the ones which are best for you. For me that would substantially alter the way orgs work and a good leader would spot the pockets of excellence and institutionalize it across by what ever it takes and I guess one need to have the guts and manage stakeholders' expectations to take it to the next echelon.
    • Varun Sahay
    • CEO-Asia Pacific, Sioen Industries NV
    Today, the word management is tainted by what is taking place all around us- US financial markets tanking, investment banks being kept alive with tax payers' money, political scandals.

    This is currently management undergoing change from the past.

    The past was: Enron, Martha Stewart, WorldCom, Tyco, insider trading, the internet boom etc.

    Part 2 of this chapter has commenced- EU companies like Siemens have been tainted. Part 3 will include Chinese and Indian companies as avarice is in every manager's nature.

    Like the scorpion said to the fish "this is in my nature" that was saving his life before stinging him and drowning alongside.

    So what is the future of management: To me- people are the future of management- this is no mantra but it does not necessarily translate into all people are managers or will become management for many reasons - they don't want to become management, they seek direction and are followers, they like to work 8:30 to 6:30, good balance of family and work and most important are not driven by business, fame and success.

    Future managers are people who are social leaders, have good financial acumen, possess entrepreneurial/innovation leadership and can communicate their vision efficiently.

    The key word is communication as today we live in a world where information flows like water; news is transmitted over social circle networks like "facebook", "linked in" as it happens. The world is becoming smaller and we are approaching symbiosis with one another.

    Management of the future will be judged every inch of the way like Martha Stewart in the past to Yahoo's Jerry Yang today but that is because the definition of management is stakeholder value. The appearance of private equity players reemphasized the point of share holder value. Today, the hedge funds are making way for sovereign funds now.

    Management is slowly transforming into leadership of people with consent, discussion and analysis forming its base with communication and transparency at the top.

    Personally, I strive to practice what I have stated above and I have just begun my journey, maybe there is a lot to learn but having lived and worked in over 6 jurisdictions and currently working in Asia Pacific makes me believe that management of the future has to be transparent, efficient and the key is communication as we have to work with trade unions, be able to identify, understand and streamline different cultures, communicate our corporate social responsibility to our teams and lastly the only accountable result deliver triple bottom line results year after year.
    • Alessandra Malanga
    • homemaker/Filmmaker
    I agree with a previous comment, that states that we are the product of the culture in which learn and are nurtured. In American society and a few other western ones, individuals since a very young are tought to "follow the rules", " to adhere to the instructions provided". This becomes a mantra that a child hears from the fist day he or she starts socializing with other, all thorough the formative years, until he or she becomes an adult. This philosophy progressively molds the individuality to a specific model and kills creativity and innovation. Then much later, in the real work place we demand that the same individuals think "outside the box", produce new models of management, generate new and more effective procedures, understand the fallacy of a system and find a cure for it. In short we ask that they act as individual, creative thinkers. How can this be possible?

    This is the story of the dog that bites his own tail, of wanting a cake and wanting also to eat it , of wanting to control and subject millions of people and then realizing that the vital spirit of innovation and true freedom is missing...This is a much, much more complex issue that goes further beyond a simple question . This is why before perusing the word "Freedom" we should be able to really and deeply understand its meaning.
    • Joe Schmid
    • Managing Principal, Oak Leaf Consulting, LLC
    "What does the future of management look like?" It will look much like today.

    There will continue to be anecdotal evidence of advanced leadership and operating cultures in the developed countries of the world just as there is today.

    W.L. Gore is not a new kid on the block. Bill and Vieve Gore founded W.L. Gore in 1958. Their bedrock beliefs and business philosophy are still in place and are what makes this company unique.

    Hamel ". . . believes the time may be right for significant change." When has it not been? The drivers are still the same.

    The ". . . team mode, with power given to the teams to run mini-businesses, including hiring, training, and firing personnel." Etc. in almost all cases is the same old leadership model with a different set of feathers. You can dress it up with all the "new" emblems and activities of empowerment but it's still a duck. Until leadership is in place that can orchestrate a genetic change by altering the core beliefs of doing business (e.g. W.L. Gore) we'll still have much the same in 50 years as we have today.
    • Ruchi Bhandarkar
    • Engineer, Foster Wheeler Energy Limited
    I agree with Hamel's thought that in the coming years, we will definitely see an unusual amount of management innovation. The process has already started and we can see that most organisations have young gen X and Y'ers in decision making positions. And the organizations have started acknowledging the young mind's innovative ideas not only by their implemention but inturn rewarding the young managers by rewards like ESOPs. All this is an indication of the fact that the concept of team working is taking shape and management is no longer a battlefield of old veterans but young Gen X and Y'ers also. All this will lead to a flatter heirarchy. Employee motivation is the talk of the day which itself suggests that now they are being treated not merely as working for the management but working with the management. One more change which has already become evident is the nature of competition between the companies. Although it's more aggressive the concept of working together for a common goal is already in place in the form of fast evolving joint ventures. We can say this is Team Work on a larger scale.
    • Sweta Mohapatra
    • Consultant, Cerebrus
    The foremost question is would most organizations, especially family owned, want to have a culture of innovation? Don't mistake me, not for a minute am I suggesting that family owned organizations are devoid of innovation and creativity both at their foundation and sustenance levels.

    Surely innovation happens, but is consciously kept at higher levels of privilege of certain key employees, divisions and departments. In fact, there may be merit in doing that. Making employees at all levels empowered to innovate means letting go of control. How many bosses, leaders and top executives are secure and trusting enough to do so.
    • Nari Kannan
    • CEO, Ajira Technologies, Inc.
    The biggest Management Innovation that will come in this century is the realization that Functional Management (Finance, Marketing, Mfg, Sales, etc) is an artifact of the 20th Century and made sense for mid 20th Century technology (beginning of commercial use of computers in organizations).

    Fast Forward to 2008. Processes (like Order to Pay) cut across many functions and many parts of processes are outsourced. Management still thinks like Finance, Sales, etc leading to many suboptimizations and inefficiencies. When you are a customer ordering at a DELL web site, you really don't care about Dell sales, Dell Finance, Dell Third party Mfg, etc. You just know that you ordered a PC and you expect to receive it on the promised date. This is because technology has glued a lot of these functions together and makes your order fly through the process rather than departments. Large organizations like the large US telecom companies are doing silly things like "Order expediters" that expedite Order to Pay processes across departments! This is not at all needed if the functional tail does not wag the process dog anymore!

    Process Orientation and organizaing functional activities around Processes will be the biggest Management Innovation in this century. Technology has changed how we do business and we need to organize our titles and work around these. In fact technology is making possible things like linking Dell's order process with the third party manufacturing's scheduling system!

    When we do this, we can cut a lot of waste in the system, improving efficiencies and effectiveness of organizations. Functional , departmental organizations have served their purpose the last century and this one calls for a new bold approach!
    • Terri McNichol
    • President, Ren Associates
    Hamel's examples of three companies exhibiting management innovation and are not led by MBAs points to the aesthetic aspect of management and leadership. In this way, all not just the CEO, exhibit qualities required by art: perceiving relations that would normally go unnoticed, work within the logic and parameters of their medium, improvise on the foundation of their accumulated knowledge and experience and always work toward a result that is an unified, harmonious composition. Michael Kimmelman says it very well when he eulogized the late curator and theorist, Kirk Varnedoe saying: "[Innovation] consists of events that unfold not according to a strategic plan, but patterns that come into focus gradually like art. These patterns are perceived rarely as the inevitable unfolding of progressive events but as a variety of inspired inventions by remarkable and imaginative people."
    • Rojan Baniya
    • Student, University of Colorado at Denver
    No doubt to the fact that management innovation has been coming in bits and pieces. Also, it is not MBA who are bringing a major turnaround in management area like in Google. I would emphasize on two clear things for a complete management turnaround, first is understanding of the organization itself, which is possible with a good theoretical framework as the three lenses - strategic design lens, cultural lens and political lens. Understanding organization from these three provides a rich knowledge of the existing requirement of the organization, thus the the second thing is to provide the organization with the environment in a innovative way. This innovative way can just come from the mind of a layman, lets do like this anyone can say. But implementing it asking all the 'Why' and 'How' questions will make the entire difference.

    Thus a bright way ahead for the management innovation, no doubt about that, just the instinct and the eduction both if blended together can make meaningful differences in management. The best thing in management is there is no hard and fast rule.
    • Anonymous
    I am in firm agreement that flexibility and change within a company must start from the top and work it's way down. Often times, the old ways of doing business forces itself into a new idea and, as innovators, we are forced to compromise. The hybrid is, more often than not, the worst option as it constrains the initial ideas around preexisting policies, rather than the other way around.

    On one hand, we have people who are very smart thinkers, however, due to the need for political acceptance within organizations (not the ones noted in this article, I imagine), good ideas require credit to multiple sources; this is the very basis of promotion within the organization. Unfortunately, this concept forces the innovation within constraints, diluting the original purpose.

    In the end, it is very difficult to achieve innovation when not everyone is on board with the fundamentals of how the business operates. Wherever the internal operations are in question, there is an open ground for political battles to be waged upon. And it is these political battles that we are continuously forced to wage.
    • F. Paul Karres
    • President, Nevada Leadership Insitute
    Innovation and momentum are set forth extremely well in "The Art of War", Sun Tzu, 500BC. Gary Gagliardi's book on the Art of War clearly spells out how innovation and businesss momentum relate.

    Mutual trust is not clearly spelled out in the Art of War, although it is there.

    The best way to express all this is a simple formula:

    MT times I = Momentum, Where MT is mutual trust and I is innovation.

    If mutual trust in an organization is low, even with innovation, there won't be much forward momentum. If mutual trust is high, then like a well oiled machine, innovation will be implemted more effectively and the organization grows.

    The same formula is also applicable in personal situations, like a marriage.

    A lot of this is spelled out in Jim Collins book, "Good to Great". Even after all the research, Good to Great is still just a 21st century rewrite of The Art of War.

    Fundmentals of human actions and relationships haven't changed in 5000 years. We just do it quicker and faster because of microchips and satellites in the sky.

    Paul Karres, Las Vegas, Nevada.
    Section E, MBA 1966
    • Dr. Hemjith Balakrishnan
    • Sr. Vice President - HR, Health Prime International
    Innovation as we all know, has been the core factor to create differentiating factors in business models and business growth. As Peter F Drucker quotes "Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship - the act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth. However the extent to which organistions encourage and promote innovation is debatable as the underlying myths that " innovation is innate - cannot be taught - innovation is risky - expensive too, can defocus organisaton along with the greatest myth of mistaking innovation to be a radical move in "creating something unusual or superhuman product or process" which requires superhuman brain or mavericks (thereby promoting behaviours which may or may not comply with existing operating systems) are to be made clear within the organisation top ranks so as to pave the way for such thinking.

    To quote further from Sir Winston Churchill - Without tradition, art is a flock of sheep without a shepherd. Without innovation, it is a corpse.
    • Jacoline Loewen
    • Partner, Loewen & Partners
    Management innovation will happen in companies partnering with private equity because established business owners with a track record of success will cross-pollinate with new partners. These partners are usually far more sophisticated and global while the original owner carries that torch of passion for the client that professional CEOs may not have.

    Private equity offers a unique partnership only now being recognized for its potential.
    • Dale C. Howe
    • Leadership Meme
    Management WILL change in the coming years. As leadership cultures oscillate between self-expressive leadership and self-sacrificing leadership, we will continue to see new solutions to problems that previous philosophies were unable solve. The innovations will in turn, uncover new problems which they cannot solve. This cycle will provide countless opportunities for successive generations to prove themselves as leaders.