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polly-labarre's picture

Ten Steps to Freedom (at Work): Announcing the Finalists of the Digital Freedom Challenge

When it comes to creating organizations that are adaptable, innovative and engaging enough to meet the future, there's no single recipe, but there is a crucial ingredient: individual autonomy. People need freedom--the freedom to pursue their passions, experiment with new ides, ignore the hierarchy, make small bets, challenge conventional thinking, choose their work, and maybe even elect their own leaders.

Without freedom, there is little initiative, creativity or passion. Freedom isn't a privilege you earn by putting in time--it's not a perk doled out in tiny increments. Freedom is a right.

Of course, unleashing freedom inside organizations is a tough challenge because it requires dismantling deeply-embedded management principles and practices. But it’s even tougher to expand autonomy without exploding the important efficiencies and discipline that are a product of control.

Thanks to digital technologies, we can imagine organizations that transcend the tradeoff between freedom and control—that are large but not bureaucratic, focused but not myopic, efficient but not inflexible, and disciplined but not disempowering. We believe that embracing and experimenting with emerging digital technologies and the powerful principles behind them—from openness to diversity to flexibility—will lead to new and infinitely more empowering management practices.

That was certainly the case with the entrants to the Digital Freedom Challenge. Management innovators and hackers from all over the world took up the challenge to share bold new ideas and approaches to expanding individual autonomy at work. We reviewed a rich mix of stories and hacks experimenting with increasing headroom (giving people the freedom to think deeply and creatively), expanding elbow room (sweeping away the bureaucratic sludge that drags down  progress), and unleashing the deepest freedoms (the freedom to try new things and fail, to create, to challenge--to step up, speak up, and make a real mark).

Today we are delighted to announce the finalists of the Digital Freedom Challenge. We'd also like to offer up our deepest thanks to everyone who contributed to this M-Prize--your initiative, inventiveness and passion have added so much to the challenge of shifting the balance from freedom to control in all of our organizations.

Here are the finalists in alphabetical order. Congratulations!

Working in Plain View: Using a Wiki & Social Media to Broadcast as You Work
Story by Aaron Anderson

Corporate Earthquakes
Hack by Alberto Blanco, co-authored by Matt Frost, Kandy Woodfield, Stephen Remedios, Conor Moss, Guido Rubio Amestoy

Rewarding Adaptability: Crowdfunding and the Internal Ideas Market
Hack by Ian Davidson, co-authored by Ken Steinman, Perry Timms, David D'Souza

Yes, You Can
Hack by Simon Gosney, co-authored by Leonardo Zangrando,Amanda Boonzaaier, Alberto Blanco, Kim Spinder

Self-Build Job Roles
Hack by Keith Gulliver, co-authored by Claire McCartney, Cassie Lloyd Perrin,Hendrik Dejonckheere, Kubatova Jaroslava & Kukelkova Adela

Ensuring Innovation Through Autonomy at Work
Story by Jens Hauglum, co-authored by Bente Mari Kristiansen, Bjørn Henrik Vangstein, Karina Birkeland Lome

Making Office Knowledge Open Source(ish)
Story by Martin Keijser

When Business Met Occupy: Innovating for True Collaborative Decision-Making
Story by Alanna Krause

The Digital TOOT (Time Out of Time)
Hack by Stephen Remedios, co-authored by Raynah Remedios

Liquid Organizations:Building the Next Evolutionry Stage of Anti-Fragility
Hack by Stelio Verzera

Next steps: the finalists will get to work building upon their entries based upon comments from the community and notes from the judging team. So, please do weigh in and spread the word--management innovation is a collective exercise! We'll announce the final results by early March.

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aaron-anderson's picture

Likewise, thank you for selecting my story as a finalist as well. I'm privileged to be in such good company. Congratulations to the others. Oh, and I'm about to update my story with lessons from being slightly over 1 year into this experiment. Hopefully an improvement to the original.

alanna-krause's picture

Thank you so much for selecting us as a finalist! And congratulations to all the other as well :)