Friday, 6 February 2009

Innovating in the downturn


   A great article in this week's FT report, Managing in a Downturn: The time is ripe for fresh ideas, by Lynda Gratton.  Linked to my previous post, Gratton suggests that the recession may provide the ideal time for the sort of major readjustments that businesses may now need to make:

"Historically a downturn has been a time when business models, organisational structures, labour markets and employee contracts come under immense strain. Accepted wisdoms are challenged and this break in thinking can result in the adoption of new practices and the adoption of new habits and skills. These pressures and fissures – while difficult at the time – can yield fresh ideas, engaging experiments and interesting adaptations in the long run.

This is important because while many managers are adept at innovating products and services, few have been adept at innovating the practice of management itself. As a consequence, businesses are often cluttered with increasingly outdated ways of managing: performance management processes that were invented in the 1950s; notions of leadership that go back to the command control of the second world war; and meeting protocols that have not changed for decades. At the same time, potential innovations such as virtual team technology are left unheeded."


Gratton suggests that two of the changes which might be needed are wider distribution of leadership and creating flexible virtual teams.  I think Gary Hamel's 25 priorities fit with this too (I'm very shortly going to be reviewing this on my Social business blog).

What do you think - are businesses going to fundamentally change in the global reset? - please comment or respond to my poll - top right of this blog.  Thanks!



Photo credit: Florian Prischl

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