14 Ideas for Busting Bureaucracy

Everybody hates it, but so much of life is ruled by it: bureaucracy. It's time to bust up the ideology of control that has infiltrated every aspect of organizational life. That's why we launched the Beyond Bureaucracy Challenge. This is the second leg of the HBR/McKinsey M-Prize for Management Innovation and a call for inspiring stories, bold ideas, and instructive experiments that demonstrate what can happen when you scrap compliance, conformance and predictability for freedom, passion, and dynamism. We asked management innovators around the world to share their stories and hacks about:
  • Making organizations more inspiring, engaging, and passion-driven
  • Shifting from a top-down to an edge-to-edge orientation
  • Managing without managers
In a matter of weeks, we received some 104 entries from around the world that confirmed our belief that there are so many experiments and initiatives going on right now — in every realm of endeavor and every part of the world — that advance the cause of making organizations more resilient, inventive, inspiring, and accountable. We heard from CEOs, courageous in-the-trenches innovators, startup leaders, and social entrepreneurs alike, from as far afield as Japan, Norway, Wisconsin, Silicon Valley, Europe, and Mexico. The stories and hacks are as richly varied. They include:  
  • How to transform an entire organization with an eclectic portfolio of grassroots initiatives
  • An experimental design for rethinking the traditional career by building retirement into work and work into retirement
  • How the simplest daily practice can contribute to profound organizational transformation
  • What it takes to build a rich social fabric in a vast global organization
    And so much more. Here is the complete list of Beyond Bureaucracy Challenge finalists (in alphabetical order): WeOrg: The Freedom to Choose Story by Dan Bean, Robert Musson, and Chermaine Li Taking Reality Seriously: Towards a More Self-Regulating Management Model at Statoil Story by Bjarte Bogsnes Managing Beyond the Organizational Hierarchy with Communities and Social Networks at Electronic Arts Story by Michael Cuthrell Social Architecture (a Manifesto) Hack by Luc Galoppin Roche: From Oversight to Insight Story by Paul Lambert 4 Tactics to Change from Directive Leadership to a Self-Correcting Organization Story by Joris Lujke From Bureaucratic, Divided, Passive and Exhausted to Productive, Creative, Autonomous, and Happy Story by Tsukasa Makino A Distributed Social Workforce Drives Profit and Performance by Sanjay Mathur, Matt Miles, and Paul Karayan Inspiring the Future of Work By Unlocking Innovation Through Chaos, Creativity and Collaboration Story by Derek Neighbors Packaging up Management Innovation Story by Deborah Mills-Scofield Retire-a-Little: Enabling More Fulfilled Working Lives Hack by Ricardo Semler Cutting through Big Blue Tape: Using Collective Passion to Scissor Bureaucracy at IBM Story by Rawn Shah, Jeanne Murray, and Younghee Overly Growing People: The Heart of the Organizational Transformation Story by Pamela Weiss and Todd Pierce Cutting the Cord: Vodafone UK's Revolutionary Approach to Mobility, Flexibility & Productivity Story by Richard Wray We hope you'll take a look at these stories and hacks and take the time to comment and vote on them. Among other considerations, finalists will be judged on how much they develop their entries and how responsive they are to comments, questions, and suggestions from their peers. Finalists have until Wednesday, February 1, 2012 to update their entries. Watch this space for the announcement of the winners soon thereafter, and the launch of the third and final leg of the HBR/McKinsey M-Prize.
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