This June I will attend my 3rd World Innovation Forum in New York City. I attend as an invitee of HSM Global, listen to the speakers, and publish my thoughts. The presentations at the conference are given by some of the top innovation speakers in the world.
During this call Gary and Polly introduced MIX: the Management Innovation eXchange. MIX has been called an "open-source method of re-inventing management". Hamel has long believed that management innovation (creating new ways of managing employees) is the most powerful corporate innovation strategy.
The goal of MIX is to suggest new ways of managing employees. During the conference call we were all encouraged to submit our own ideas into the MIX and collaborate with other "management inventors". I decided to give it a try.
I've written several posts about a new rotational program in my organization (Unified Storage Division) at EMC. Rotational programs are nothing new; new employees rotate through a different engineering job every 9 months. I was asked to manage some of these new employees (I had never really managed anybody up to that point). I would not be responsible for their day-to-day work, but I would help mentor them through their first 3 rotations (for a total of 27 months).
It seemed like a good thing, so I said "yes". I'll manage.
Somewhere in the back of my mind I also had a slightly evil thought: perhaps I could have them work on a few skunkworks in the background. EMC is a busy place. Who would ever know?
I decided to submit this idea into MIX. If I were to describe the idea in a way that didn't get me into trouble, I would say that I'm providing 27 months of innovation advice to these new employees. I would give them all a team project that would result in an innovative product proposal over the course of their rotational experience.
Behind closed doors, however, there is a great opportunity to help them quickly meet the goals of their manager and leave plenty of other time for the really cool stuff. After 27 months they would understand the basics of hitting their goals while delivering new thinking and ideas.
I submitted the idea here.
The Crazy World of Blogging
I did not know that it was a contest. Over eighty ideas were submitted. I received an email telling me that "Commando Mentoring" had made the top ten finalists. I thought it was cool but really didn't pay much attention.
Then I started getting invited to meetings to present my idea, and I said to myself "you probably need to pay a little bit more attention to this".
So I re-read the announcement about the semi-finalists and found out that I had won an iPad and free admission to the HCI Conference in Atlanta. Tomorrow during lunch I present my idea to Gary Hamel. If my idea is promoted to the "top three", then my flight and hotel in Atlanta will be paid for.
Very cool. Wish me luck. The bottom line is that I agree with Gary Hamel. Coming up with new ways of managing employees is a key method of stimulating innovation.
I'd appreciate any comments on my idea. You can leave comments here or register on the MIX.