Wanted: The Next Great Management Idea

Posted by: Louis Lavelle on December 2, 2010

Here’s a chance for the world’s MBA students to put their expensive education to work and maybe even make a few bucks in the process.

The Management Innovation Exchange, an project aimed at reinventing management for the 21st century, and HCL Technologies, a global IT services provider, are offering more than $50,000 in prizes for the best new game-changing management ideas. The HCL MBA M-Prize competition is open to all current graduate business school students and will honor “the best new idea for making organizations more adaptable, more innovative, more inspiring, and more socially accountable.”

One of the people involved in all this is Gary Hamel, director of the Management Lab at London Business School, the author of seminal management books including Leading the Revolution, and one of the most influential management thinkers around. This is what he had to say in a statement:

Organizations around the world today are challenged to change in ways they have never imagined. Collectively and individually some of the world’s leading management thinkers and progressive CEOs are pushing themselves and their teams to answer the fundamental question: How do we invent ‘management 2.0?’ The HCL MBA M-Prize is not an intellectual exercise or a theory. We are looking for ideas we can test and make work in a real organization. We are looking to reinvent the future of management and let MBA students’ ideas play a critical role in making it work.

In addition to a $50,000 grand prize, the winner gets to lead a real-world management experiment, in effect testing the winning idea at a real company. There are also three additional prizes for the best management “hacks”—which the organizers describe as “a bold new idea or radical fix aimed at redistributing power, unleashing human capability and fostering renewal in organizations.”

The deadline for submissions is Feb. 28. Ten to 15 finalists will be selected by April 15 and the winners will be announced on the MIX site on May 1. Entries will be judged on clarity of thought and originality, potential for impact, feasibility of implementation, and popularity.

A bunch of the entries have already been posted on the M-Prize web site. One involves giving rank-and-file employees a say in big company decisions, such as mergers and acquisitions. Another proposes an internal market for management talent—allowing employees to choose their own supervisors and rewarding the best. A third suggests an online social network to solicit money-making ideas for the company, and giving a cut of the proceeds from any viable idea to the person who thought of it.

Not a bad start, but only a start. Surely there must be hundreds of really smart ideas for fomenting the next great management revolution bubbling up in b-school. What’s yours?

Reader Comments

Gordon Dryden

December 15, 2010 10:01 PM

Great idea. But why restrict entries to business-school graduates? Which group of graduates did the most to cause the $3 trillion global banking and financial meltdown of 2007-10? Or at least have a separate competition for non-graduates. Maybe a teams of three, so I can team-up with Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.
But happy to go it alone and submit. We could then have a grand run-aff at the end: winner take all. You graduates game?

Gordon Dryden, New Zealand, co-author of "The Learning Revolution": honorary Doctorate in computer science from Arizona's University of Advancing Technologies. High school dropout, earlier, in New Zealand.

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