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Announcing the M-Prize Winners: Audacity, Imagination, Experimentation

by Polly LaBarre on November 22, 2010


polly-labarre's picture

Announcing the M-Prize Winners: Audacity, Imagination, Experimentation

We have a big dream here at the MIX: to create organizations that are fit for the future--and fit for human beings. It's an aspiration that calls for nothing less than what the philosopher and reformer John Dewey described as a "new audacity of imagination." While "modern" management has delivered an immense contribution to global prosperity, the values driving our most powerful institutions today are fundamentally at odds with those of this age--zero-sum thinking, profit-obsession, power, conformance, control, hierarchy, and obedience don't stand a chance against community, interdependence, freedom, flexibility, transparency, meritocracy, and self-determination. It's time to radically rethink how we mobilize people and organize resources to productive ends.

winners collage

Of course, that's what the MIX was built for--and to accelerate that process, we introduced the first-ever management innovation contest--the M-Prize--earlier this year. The challenge to the MIX community: offer up the best story (a real-world case study of management innovation) or hack (a bold idea for tackling a critical management challenge) around three crucial moonshots: redefining the work of leadership, increasing trust (reducing fear), and taking the work out of work. Even before the judging began, the contest confirmed one of our earliest hypotheses: people are experimenting with radical management practices all over the world in every kind of organization at every level. Management innovation is not the exclusive province of brand-name companies or the executive suite. You don't have to be a guru or a CEO--or even a "manager" by title--to be a management innovator. You just have to be frustrated by the status quo and willing to ask a courageous "What if?"

The sheer diversity of the M-Prize submissions supported that assertion. MIXers from all over the world--from North America to Nigeria, from Mexico to Mumbai, from New Zealand to Dubai--contributed hundreds of stories and hacks. We were struck not just by the geographical diversity but by the rich mix of institutions and roles represented--from well-known global corporations to disruptive startups, from pioneering nonprofits to academic institutions, from the C-suite to front lines, from tenured professors to students, from hedge fund managers to individual entrepreneurs and thinkers. Few of the submissions are world-changing, some are half-baked and a few are truly off-the-wall--but so many of them reflect that spark of audacious imagination--bold, original, important--and taken together, they confirm our deeply-held belief that everyone wins when everyone shares.

The winners will earn recognition in a variety of venues--from the McKinsey Quarterly to the Wall Street Journal to the 2011 World Innovation Forum  (WIF)--and a free ticket to the WIF (a $2,200 value). Our two grand prize winners will share the stage at the WIF with such celebrated thinkers as Dan Pink, Clayton Christensen, and Roger Martin. Watch this space for a series of deeper dives into the winning stories over the next week or so.

And remember, this is a collaborative exercise. If you have a comment or a build on any of the winning stories or hacks (or any contribution on the MIX), we urge you to jump into the fray in the comments. And check out the current challenges listed on the M-Prize page for your own chance to win. As inspiring and instructive as these stories are, they are just a start. The more progressive management ideas and practices we unearth and spread, the more effective all of our organizations will be--and the more engaging, productive and rewarding work will be for the people inside them.

Congratulations to the winners!

Increasing Trust Moonshot
*Organizational Trust 2.0: 42 projects Story by Ross Smith
*The Judgment Factory: Reverse engineering dangerous judgements in turbulent times Hack by Annie McQuade and Erika Ilves

Taking the Work out of Work Moonshot
*Grand Prize Winner: Tongal: A 21st-century business model for finding top talent and putting them to work on something they love Story by James De Julio
*Grand Prize Winner: Getting Rid of the Busy Work so You Can Get to Work Story by Jordan Cohen

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david-r-koenig's picture

Polly and all,

Just to keep you up-to-date, Governance Reimagined: Organizational Design, Risk, and Value Creation is now available for Kindle users and the hard bound version will ship from Amazon and others in about two weeks.

You can preview the book at:

And, if interested, you can order it from Amazon at:

Thanks to everyone for your support and encouragement!

david-r-koenig's picture

I'm happy to report that the concept for which the prize was awarded is part of a new book I've written which is being published by John Wiley and Sons in April and was also featured in an article on this week. Links to both are below: article:

You can see the pre-publication page for the book on Amazon at:

mireille-jansma's picture

Yes! Congratulations to the winners and to everyone else who contributed to the MIX! And compliments to the official mavericks who set this up. Thank you all!

I still remember how I found out about the MIX. I was at work, felt lonely and kind of desperate.  Many things to change, hard to do so. Randomly I googled 'management' and 'maverick', not expecting any sensible search hit, let alone a discovery. But there you were: The MIX.

You can't imagine how glad I was to find you. Utterly, totally glad. You gave me hope.

Still I think you make some mistakes. Your prizes encourage the old hero worshipping thing that we need to get rid of. Your webinars feature 'important people' and not us. And so on. Please build on this? :)

Thanks so much!

Best, Mireille

polly-admin's picture

Hi Mireille,

Thanks so much for your note. That's exactly what we were hoping for: to create a community and a platform for all the mavericks out there who had ideas to contribute, passion to burn, and experiments to concoct—regardless of organization, position, experience. Thank you for your contribution on that front so far and we hope you'll keep mixing it up.

On that point (and your point about hero worship), let me say a couple things. First, this wouldn't be the bold experiment we set out to conduct if we didn't make a few mistakes! We count on you all to keep pointing them out to us. Second, I'm not sure we suffer so much from hero worship as from striving to maintain a balance between inspiring models and emergent mavericks. We probably don't have that balance quite right, but we do choose our mavericks and webinar subjects based on the originality of their ideas and the practical lessons baked into their body of work rather than on their "star power." That said, we have a few fun experiments lined up to dig more deeply into the community and to develop the emergent voices more explicitly. Stay tuned to the blog for news on that front.

All the best,

alex-todd's picture
I would like to congratulate the winners of the M-Prize and those who received honourable mention. As a fellow competitor with a hack for the Increasing Trust Moonshot, I am grateful to Gary Hamel and his  Management Innovation eXchange team for having given me and all other business innovators worldwide an opportunity to share our ideas and publicly contribute to the management innovation movement.