MIX: Gary Hamel's experiment in reinventing management the open source way

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Of all of the people talking or writing about the future of business right now, no one has more street cred than Gary Hamel. I've written about him many times before, and his book The Future of Management is one of the most inspiring and meaningful business books of the last 10 years.

Last year at the World Business Forum, when Gary called open source one of the greatest management innovations of the 21st century, there was some serious high-fiving going on amongst us open source business types.

So I've been watching closely as Gary and a team of management superstars have launched an open innovation experiment called the Management Innovation Exchange, or MIX. In the video below, Gary explains a little bit about the goals of the MIX.

Here's how they describe the MIX on the website:

"The Management Innovation eXchange (MIX) is an open innovation project aimed at reinventing management for the 21st century. The premise: while "modern" management is one of humankind's most important inventions, it is now a mature technology that must be reinvented for a new age."

From spending some time on the site, it clearly shares a lot of the same foundations as the open source way, even if the MIX folks prefer the term open innovation.

One of the most wonderful bits? The MIX is a meritocracy, where anyone can join, submit management hacks, stories, or barriers, and then collaborate with others to explore the ideas further.

It's not just the same management experts writing and the rest of us normal folks listening. We can participate, and if we contribute good enough ideas, we may even get some recognition in the community (and no one is going to ask to see our Harvard diploma!).

I'm a meritocratic guy, so I got right in there and submitted a hack of my own (check it out!). You should too. In fact, if you go to this page and submit a hack or a story, you may be eligible for what they call the M-Prize—the world's first management innovation prize.

If you win, you may find yourself on stage at the World Innovation Forum next year speaking with the likes of Seth Godin and Michael Porter. Nice!

The MIX website has been up for a few months now, and it looks like there are 2-3 new hacks being put up each day. What's more, all of the work on the site is licensed under a Creative Commons license, which is awesome (although they chose the "no derivatives" version, which is less awesome, and perhaps a bit misaligned with the vision of the project to me).

Overall, there is a lot here to love. I'll leave you with a quote from the section of the site exploring the principles of the MIX entitled "Everyone wins when everyone shares":

"The MIX represents a pioneering attempt to use the open innovation model to help accelerate the evolution of a critical social technology—management. Rather than struggling in isolation to reinvent the processes and practices of management, MIX members can leverage the expertise and insights of a global community of like-minded innovators. The success of the MIX hinges on the willingness of its members to share their ideas and experiences, which depends in turn on a belief that more can be gained by sharing than by hoarding. Truth is, there's a lot more management innovation going on in the world at large than in any particular organization. Thus the MIX gives every progressive management innovator the chance to share a little and learn a lot."

Reinventing management through sharing rather than hoarding. Sounds a lot like the way the open source way reinvented software development to me.

Brilliant. Let's watch (or better yet, participate) and see what happens next.



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Chris Grams is the Head of Marketing at Tidelift and author of The Ad-Free Brand: Secrets to Building Successful Brands in a Digital World. Twitter LinkedIn Email: chris(at)tidelift.com



This is an awesome site and I agree it has much in common with opensource.com. I find in talking to people from other fields (and having just finished my MBA at UNC Chapel Hill), many people are embracing open source ideas without necessarily realizing it. The open source principles, I think, are appealing to people innovating in management, who have never worked in, around, or with open source technology. In fact, a lot of people I've met who describe to me open source concepts in regards to management, have never heard of Red Hat, or think "open source" is just giving away free software. Does that matter? I think Open source has definitely transcended its origins and the concepts are just becoming part of progressive management thinking....

Nice work jumping in to the MIX!

Thinking of open source development and collaborative invention for management principles, maybe we could even extend it to create some method for collaborative development of <u>government</u> principles too?

Or even collaborative forms of government itself? (Collaborative development of laws, and such things, open for real to everyone with a good idea. Not just electing politicians or voting for various proposals.)

I'm not sure exactly how to do it, though. That will require more thinking...

The idea of extending open source "principles" beyond software development is a large part of what this site explores. I'd love to see more articles on that in the government section, for sure. Maybe one of you would be a good person to write it!

Rebecca - sure! Shoot me an email samfw@redhat....

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