Management Innovation

There is a lot of constantly improving technology in the Web 2.0 / Enterprise 2.0 space. It is just a question of time until a smart company will be inventing a new business model based on that. Examples for breakthrough innovations from the past are Google or Open Source Development. Both changed the competitive landscape significantly. Open Source Development could be called a management innovation according to Gary Hamel referred to as the most influential thinker on strategy in the Western world by Peter Senge (MIT). He defines Management Innovation "as a marked departure from traditional management principles, processes, and practices or a departure from customary organizational forms that significantly alters the way the work of management is performed." ( full article published in HBR Feb 2006)

But already on the path to Enterprise 2.0 we see few companies really break with old habits and change the way power and information is distributed. They are mostly using the web in ways that build on existing practice, for example enhancing bottom up reporting mechanisms from local to global scale.

Breakthrough requires to change the way how managers work and this requires to reinvent the processes that govern that work! In the above linked article Hamel describes four elements to become a management innovator: 1) Commitment to a big management problem, 2) Novel principles that illuminate new approaches, 3) A deconstruction of management orthodoxies, 4) Analogies from atypical organizations that redefine what's possible.

The latter brings me back to my favorite topic: what can a company learn from communities? For me the main variables of innovation are: new technologies as enablers, management, organization form, resiliency and not surprisingly all these factors are extremely woven into one another.

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