Innovations at Work

HCL Technologies: The Future At Work

The trouble with seeking out the future of management is that, even when you find it, it looks – to most casual observers – suspiciously like the past. Most truly radical management models are either highly situation-specific (Linux would not have happened without the evil empire, Microsoft, threatening to take over the world) or they don’t survive (remember Volvo’s experiments with team-based car assembly?). The management innovations that matter are usually more prosaic in nature and typically build on ideas that have been tried out in other contexts. As a result, the sceptic could be forgiven for dismissing them as more of the same.

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24/7 Customer Innovation
In the late 1980s PV Kannan joined Tata Consulting in his native India. His timing was perfect. “Offshoring hadn’t really been invented at that time,” he recalls. “Our work was basically maintenance work. Then it exploded. Between 1988 and 1990 the company grew from 500 to 3,000 people. People were asking us for new applications. When I left, there were over 4,000 people.”
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Eden McCallum: The Network Process

The origins of the modern firm can be traced to the 19th century. Yet the nature of business enterprises remains a constant work in progress. Over the last decade, in particular, technology has opened up a wide range of opportunities to change the fundamental shape of the traditional firm. This potential has been enthusiastically charted by commentators and academics alike.

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Ideas, Inspiration And IDEO
Design is the height of corporate chic. It is endorsed by management gurus as the new thing. Car advertisements feature designers rather than glamorous men and women. People know who Tom Ford is. Design superheroes, such as Alberto Alessi and Philippe Starck, glitter on the pages of magazines. Their Midas touch is applied to everything from kettles to hotels.  But, in the business world at least, the suspicion is that the current gushing enthusiasm for design is as superficial as was the managerial enthusiasm for re-engineering or any other fad.
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Do you have a management innovation to share?
The Management Innovation Lab at London Business School is constantly on the lookout for new examples of management innovations in the world of business. If you have an Innovation you would like to share with us click here.