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Want to reinvent management? Start with the managers.


Maybe some day we’ll look back on the role of the manager in our organizations and laugh.

Such a quaint trend. Kind of like having The Clapper in every room of your house, or wearing multiple Swatch watches, or working out to Richard Simmons videos. Each seemed really helpful at the time, but looking back, we kind of wonder what the heck we were thinking.

OK, I’m exaggerating. After all, the manager/employee trend has been going strong for 100 years or more. But are we seeing enormous changes in the role of managers on the horizon? Signs point to yes.

In some of the most forward-thinking businesses and in many projects being run the open source way, the traditional manager/employee relationship, which looks something like the image above, is being replaced with something much less formal and much more flexible.

I think the new model looks more like this:

[read the rest of this post on opensource.com]

Five questions about open innovation with Stefan Lindegaard


On Wednesday, September 1, opensource.com will be hosting a webcast with Stefan Lindegaard, one of the world’s leading experts on open innovation.

Sign up for the webcast now

Stefan is author of the recently published book The Open Innovation Revolution, and blogs regularly on 15inno.com and stefanlindegaard.com.

We see a lot of commonalities between the open source way and the key concepts of open innovation, and thought inviting Stefan to come share his knowledge about open innovation with the opensource.com audience might be a good way to spur dialog between people in open source and open innovation communities.

In preparation for the webcast, we’ve asked Stefan five questions about subjects he may cover in more detail on September 1.

CHRIS: Early in your book, The Open Innovation Revolution, you share an idea that came out of one of your discussions with innovation leaders: “Embracing the outside requires that you know the inside.” Why do you think companies struggle so much to understand their own internal innovation model? How does this hinder their ability to pursue open innovation strategies?

STEFAN: Companies have chronic issues making innovation happen internally. This has many reasons. Executives might not fully understand innovation, the organization is not trained for innovation or there is just not enough focus on how to make innovation happen. On the latter, I can add that only very few companies actually have an innovation strategy that is aligned with the overall corporate strategy.

If you want to bring in external partners to your innovation process, these partners expect that you have order in your own house. If you fail to work efficiently with these partners nothing happens in terms of outcome. Even worse, the word spreads that you are not a good innovation partner and thus you will have a harder time attracting future partners.

Some companies believe that if they just embrace open innovation, then all their internal innovation issues will be solved. This will not happen. Open innovation is not a holy grail.

[Read the rest of this post on opensource.com]

Does your organization need a “no policy” policy?


Daniel Pink published an interesting piece over the weekend in The Telegraph about Netflix‘s innovative corporate policy of not having a vacation policy.

Meaning, employees don’t have a set number of days they get off each year, but instead can take vacation whenever they want. From the article:

At Netflix, the vacation policy is audaciously simple and simply audacious. Salaried employees can take as much time off as they’d like, whenever they want to take it. Nobody – not employees themselves, not managers – tracks vacation days. In other words, Netflix’s holiday policy is to have no policy at all.

This may sound like a recipe for disaster to you, but it hasn’t turned out that way for Netflix. In fact, as the rest of article highlights, not having a lot of corporate policies may be a fantastic strategy for engaging 21st century workers.

[Read the rest of this post on opensource.com]

OpenIDEO: a new experiment in open innovation


This week, those smart folks over at IDEO launched a new project they are calling OpenIDEO. If you aren’t familiar with IDEO yet, you should be—they are the poster children for design thinking specifically and 21st century innovation more generally.

IDEO has been responsible for groundbreaking designs of everything from computer mice to toothbrushes to brand experiences, and it is the home of superstar thinkers like Tim Brown (author of the recent book called Change By Design) and Tom Kelley (author of The Art of Innovation and The Ten Faces of Innovation).

What is OpenIDEO? Here’s what the website says:

OpenIDEO is a place where people design better, together for social good. It’s an online platform for creative thinkers: the veteran designer and the new guy who just signed on, the critic and the MBA, the active participant and the curious lurker.

So it is basically an experiment in open innovation, a place where IDEO can be the catalyst of a conversation among really smart folks from different disciplines that might lead to solutions for big, complex social problems.

If you are a skeptic, you might immediately wonder what’s in it for IDEO. One person asked whether IDEO planned to make money with the “crowd’s” ideas, and Tim Brown answered like this:

[Read the rest of this post on opensource.com]

Is your culture made of gold or fool’s gold?


When I hear people talk about how awesome their organizational culture is, I often find myself wondering what sort of “great” culture it is.

For me, great cultures fall into two categories: entitlement and mission-driven. Those “best places to work” lists don’t usually make a distinction, but I do. Here is the difference:

Entitlement cultures

The surest sign of an entitlement culture? When someone tells you why they like their work, they give you an example of a benefit not related to the work itself. Some examples:

I get on-site daycare.
I get free snacks and drinks.
We have great health benefits.
We have a flexible work-from-home policy.

From what I’ve observed, entitlement-driven cultures resonate most with people who have a deeply held desire for safety, security, and quality of life.

Mission-driven cultures

It’s no secret that I believe organizations with a strong shared purpose, mission, or vision beyond the bottom line have a huge advantage over those that don’t. I was able to witness the power of a mission-driven culture first hand at Red Hat, and I see these cultures all of the time in the both the open source and design worlds.

Ask someone why they like working in a mission-driven organization, and they are likely to say things like these:

I believe in what we are doing.
I love coming to work every day.
I leave work each day with a sense of accomplishment.
I am changing the world.

My personal experience has been that mission-driven cultures resonate most with people who have a deeply held desire to find meaning in their work above all else.

Can companies have both cultures at once, and be both entitlement-driven and mission-driven? Absolutely!

And a culture where people believe in what they do and enjoy safety, security, and quality of life is the best kind, right? Let me be controversial:

I don’t think that is true.

[Read the rest of this post on opensource.com]

Quit marketing now tip #1: default to personal communication


Ah, poor marketing.

It has definitely been a rough patch for marketing the last few years. From those predicting that [fashionable term X] is the “new” marketing (social media! engagement! community-building! customer experience! design! communications!) to those predicting its outright demise, there are a lot of people looking past marketing to whatever comes next.

It's hard for me to say I'm sorry for putting a picture of Chicago in this blog post. I just want you to know.

For many of us, marketing is what we know. We’ve been practicing marketing so long, it is, to paraphrase Chicago (yes, I just did that), a “hard habit to break.”

So if you’ve been tearfully exclaiming, “I wish I knew how to quit you, marketing!” I come bearing hope. What follows is the first in a series of things you can do right now to break marketing’s hold on you. Quitting has to start somewhere. It might as well be here.

First, a short history:

In the beginning, communications were personal. I’m sure it all started when Og was sitting in the cave talking to Grog about his new stone arrowhead design, responding to Grog’s questions and telling stories about all of the animals he had killed with the new arrowhead (brand positioning: lighter design, so you can throw farther, kill bigger, and feed your clan better).

Fast forward to the Industrial Revolution, and all of the sudden we humans were creating goods and services that could be delivered to many more people at once than ever before. While this was fantastic, and made a lot of people a lot of money, the downside was that we could no longer communicate the benefits of the goods we were making to each person individually.

So we developed new ways of communicating to many people at once—mass communications. Along the way, the idea of marketing was born (fun fact: a telegraph was used for mass unsolicited spam as early as 1864!).

And all was awesome. For about 100 years or so.

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