It's time to reinvent management. You can help.

New Management Principles for a New Age

by Polly LaBarre on January 25, 2012


polly-labarre's picture

New Management Principles for a New Age

Our big goal here at the MIX is to inspire and unleash as much collective aspiration, audacity, imagination, energy, and passion as possible when it comes to making all of our organizations fit for the future--and fit for human beings.

We've said it before: so much is broken when it comes to how most companies are managed, organizations are structured, and work is designed. "Modern" management was developed by a bunch of long-dead big thinkers who were solving for a very different set of challenges than we face today: maximizing control, conformance, discipline, reliability, and predictability. Those are important organizational virtues, but they're not what creates real value today.

If we want organizations that are resilient enough to change as fast as the world is changing, inventive enough to imagine a whole new way to create value, inspiring enough to invite and unleash the best gifts of employees (and other stakeholders), and mindful enough to find a way to win without others (the community, the planet) having to lose--we can't just scrounge around for best practices. We have to cast off the ruling (and stifling) ideology of control, power, and growth-at-all-costs for a new ideology--a new set of principles for a new age.

The good news is that we now have a viable alternative to the management status quo. Thanks to the Web, we can imagine organizations that are large but not bureaucratic, focused but not myopic, efficient but not inflexible and disciplined but not dispiriting. Of course, the Web has its limits, but it is a relentlessly productive seed bed for new organizational forms--where coordination happens without centralization, where power is the product of contribution rather than position, where the wisdom of the many trumps the authority of the few, where novel and dissenting viewpoints get amplified rather than squelched, where communities form spontaneously around shared interests, where opportunities to "opt-in" blur the line between vocation and hobby, where performance is judged by your peers, and where influence comes from sharing information, not from hoarding it.

Those inspiring and innovative approaches to organization spring from a set of principles that already drive the Web--and have the potential to fundamentally reinvent how we manage all of our organizations in a few short years.

So, what are the powerful principles of Web 2.0 which might help create Management 2.0? That's a question an energetic and team of nearly 600 adventuresome practitioners and progressive thinkers from some fifty countries around the world have been wrestling with since November in the Management 2.0 Hackathon.

Just like the software world's pizza-fueled all-night code fests, the Management 2.0 Hackathon is an intense, coordinated effort to produce hacks--but in the realm of fresh, bold, and practical ideas on how we can use the principles of the Internet to reinvent management (and designed to enable even the busiest people to make a meaningful contribution).

Since November, the hackers have worked to identify and describe the core limits of "management 1.0," to distill a crucial set of new management principles, and to offer up a universe of vanguard organizations and initiatives already experimenting with those principles.

Think of it as an intensified version of what we do every day on the MIX. And to share some of that work in progress, here's a list of twelve core management 2.0 principles distilled from some 40 the hackers explored (and a few videos from me describing some positive deviants putting these principles into action):

Which do you think are the most important, urgent principles today? What are we missing? And do you have any great stories of these principles in action. Please share your thoughts in the comments and via the story templates. And, you're welcome to join the Management 2.0 Hackathon as well--it's a perfect time to jump in.

You can learn more, join the hackathon, or just explore the wealth of resources on the platform here (you'll need to do a quick sign up to enter the hackathon space).

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juan-jos-ezama's picture
There should be a "principle tree" in order to distinguish identify  core form secondary principles
Missing: Equity is a key principle for a balance and sustainable capitalist society
_158's picture
In my opinion Openess is very important to develop Trust which can motivate employees to give their best and get thier work recognized based on meritocracy and activism and once thier trust is developed together they can get autonomy and explore serenidipitious experience to get meaning and speed in their work.

Mohd Shahnawaz

marty-ercoline's picture
Where is 'transparency' in the list?  Is it part of the meaning of openness?  In my experience of implementing social business platforms for large Enterprises, it is the 'transparency' of it all that seems to be the most rewarding feature, and the most disliked.  I've found that coaching new social business entrants specifically in regards to 'transparency' is absolutely necessary.  Also,  transparency drives much of the governance model restrictions that Companies and Agencies have put in place to manage social interactions and platforms.  For example, two of my clients in the Healthcare industry find transparency a threat to their existence.  So, when it gets to the point where social platforms permit transparency, in a manner never before enabled, they want to clamp down on social business platforms, shut off Facebook access, kill off twitter, etc.  It comes down to a management lack of knowledge around how to harness transparency and enable it to servv ethe good of the organization, ratehr than view it as an immediate threat and shelter people from it. 
david-criado's picture
I love your article, Polly. I´m interested in your work. Maybe we can talk about your ideas. I´m writing a MiX-principles-centric book with my experience and knowledge in order to redesign the industrial culture. Some english guide at and some spanish canvas of basic ideas at Thanks again, this 12 core principles are great!!

Regards from Madrid

kartik-subbarao's picture
Great job on the videos Polly!