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The Unlimited Human Potential Challenge Deadline Extended!

by Polly LaBarre on February 21, 2014


polly-labarre's picture

The Unlimited Human Potential Challenge Deadline Extended!

Unlimited Human Potential ChallengeThe Unlimited Human Potential Challenge is in full swing. We’ve got so many exciting Stories and Hacks in the pipeline—and such exciting rewards for those who contribute—that we’re extending the deadline. The updated timing for the Challenge is as follows:

First round deadline: March 31, 2014
Finalists announced: Week of April 14th
Final round deadline:    May 12, 2014

With this M-Prize, we are seeking the most progressive practices and innovative ideas when it comes to:

  • unleashing human capacity—designing environments and systems for work that inspire individuals to contribute their full imagination, initiative, and passion every day; and/or
  • aggregating human capability—leveraging new social, mobile, and digital technologies to activate, enlist, and organize talent across boundaries.

How can we tap into emerging digital technologies and the principles that undergird them (such as transparency, collaboration, meritocracy, open­ness, commu­nity and self-determination) to produce radically new approaches to organizing and creating value?

Do you have a real-world case study or a bold new idea about unleashing and organizing human potential across boundaries? By sharing your STORY or HACK in the Unlimited Human Potential Challenge, you can help us make a dent in a big problem—and earn the chance to win a powerful collection of prizes.

Winners of the Unlimited Human Potential Challenge will receive significant recognition on the MIX, by SAP, and on Winners will also earn the chance to be recognized at SAP’s annual SAPPHIRE NOW event (June 3-5, 2014) and at the MIX Mashup (November 18-20, 2014; NYC).

For the first time ever, these winners will be eligible for an additional suite of prizes, which we're calling the "Idea Accelerator." Based on their potential to make a genuine impact—specifically, the potential to produce a viable app, product, company, or even a movement—up to three winners will win:

  • A design thinking workshop with experts from SAP Labs to further develop, prototype, and possibly scale the idea
  • A mentoring session with executives from SAP Ventures, including introductions to business incubators and/or angel investors
  • Additionally, depending on the results of interviews conducted by the SAP Ventures team and the market potential of the winning entry, one of these entrants could also win up to USD $50,000 in funding from SAP Ventures, to go towards the formation of a new start-up company or venture. (Special consideration for this optional award will be given to entries with the potential to leverage SAP HANA.)

We’re tremendously excited to be able to offer such a powerful collection of rewards for contributors to the M-Prize. Please note: while the prize purse will focus on contributions with the potential to leverage SAP’s HANA technology, the MIX and the judging team will consider all contributions equally. Any Story or Hack that meets the Challenge Brief has the potential to make it to the winner’s circle.

Finally, if you’re in need of a little inspiration or a push to contribute, check out our series of Maverick Hangouts exploring the themes of the Unlimited Human Potential Challenge. You can watch a riveting conversation between our own Gary Hamel and SAP CMO Jonathan Becher on the future of work and what it means to lead, design work, and manage organizations in the creative economy below.

And don’t miss my conversation with the inimitable Bob Sutton on his nearly decade-long journey into the challenge of spreading success. We unpack the profound wisdom and powerfully practical approaches to scaling successfully in his new book, Scaling Up Excellence. You can find that video here

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peter-rennie's picture

Why do organizations make it difficult for the good guys?

Thanks Polly, Gary and Jonathan for the conversation and the challenge you are asking us to consider.

Gary in your video talk with Jonathan you said, ‘Currently there are all time record levels of low trust within organizations’. You quoted a Human Capital Institute survey drawing data from over 300 companies where only 21% of employees believed their leaders effectively delegate and only 25% of employees believed that their leaders drew on multiple points in decision making. You asked, ‘How does a CEO make it safe for people to challenge them . . . how does a leader model the desirable behavior?’ And you observed, ‘We have been talking about this for 50 to 60 years and we haven’t seen any major changes. Why not?’

During the talk I was reminded of a frank admission into his modus operandi made by a chairman of a highly successful software company in the late 1990’s. The statement was reported in the Australian press at the time.

‘You don’t necessarily get to the top by being a good guy. The art of undermining competitors in the workplace remains rife. It takes the form of saying, “I think he would be good for the job, BUT” to the strategic raising of an eyebrow.’

Some different questions emerged. What is it about organizations that their leaders espouse good leadership but in practice display poor leadership? and Why do organizations make it difficult for the good guys?

Having asked those questions I’d like to share some observations and ideas.

One of the ways we help workshop attendees tackle this issue is to introduce the FIBS ROCK model. After a short outline of the process we ask leaders to vacate their chairs and walk into the centre of the seminar room to gather around a five to ten meter long line. The line is numbered from 1 to 5. We ask the leaders to show us their perspective, of where their organization “is at” by standing somewhere on this continuum, with FIBS behavior rating a 1 and ROCK behavior rating a 5.

At 1 FIBS behaviour is characterised by leaders who consistently;
Flatter those more senior to them,
Inflate their own contributions and downplay those of their colleagues,
Break most promises they make except those made to important people,
Scapegoat others when a mistake occurs.

For readers of Bob Sutton, and that includes me, there is great overlap between those who display high FIBS behaviour and those he describes as a**holes as in his book ‘The No A**hole Rule’. Other people suggest that high FIBS correlates with immaturity.

At 5 ROCK behaviour is characterised by leaders who consistently;
Respect everyone within the organisation,
Own problems and take responsibility for fixing them,
Credit others for their good work or thoughtful contributions,
Keep their promises.

Yes, the good guys consistently display high ROCK behavior and also have the humility to acknowledge that they sometimes slip into mild FIBS behavior.

We watch to see who takes a position first and where they stand. We watch what happens when the CEO takes her position and where other people stand in relation to her. Are they prepared to take a significantly different position? We repeat the exercise several times asking people to assess the executive team and ultimately themselves. (No one as yet has placed themselves on 1 = High FIBS although it is common for several people to rate themselves as high ROCK) If the CEO and executive team can acknowledge significant FIBS behavior in their own leadership behaviour we become more confident they will be willing to tackle the serious business of cultural change. Without judgement we make the experience more meaningful. People become keen to foster ROCK behaviors.

The CEO is encouraged to participate in a ‘forced ROCK ranking process’ which makes it safe for people to point out the blind spots in the CEO’s behaviour. The leaders develop an understanding that by supporting and acknowledging more ROCK behavior FIBS behaviour falls away. The model gives people a user friendly language to discuss how well the leaders are supporting ROCK behaviours and the circumstances in which they revert to FIBS behaviors which was previously undiscussable. The more we explore the issue the clearer it becomes that FIBS behaviors are major contributors to bureaucratic behaviors.

Once people understand the model we can explore the systemic organizational factors that support FIBS mindsets and behaviors. Chief amongst them is the organizational hierarchical structure which if left unaddressed will always undermine ROCK behaviour. As you commented, Gary, people have been talking about this for over 50 years. In his 1957 book, Personality and Organizations, the late Chris Argyris suggested that the single biggest factor behind immaturity was the ‘pyramidal organizational culture’ (his words). He showed how pyramidal behaviour with its emphasis on status and control not only undermined maturity but promoted immature (FIBS) mindsets and behavior.

Let’s get serious about helping the good guys win.

For more information about the FIBS:ROCK model and a paper please email me

The FIBS:ROCK model was developed by Peter Rennie in 1998.

kurt-rieger_1's picture

TSolving the people issues (unleashing the human potential in organisations, note the plural as the solution does not rest within a single organisation) is a legally binding obligation in most OECD countries since 1995 when the International Electrotechnical Commission published IEC 61508 functional safety of electrical, electronic and programmable electronic safety related systems (E/E/PESRS) this standard is the benchmark for industry specific standards and addresses the overall safety obligations, specific to ensuring safety action at the push of a button on demand. But it is only a part solution, stepping beyond regulation and education is the way to the future.
Hundreds of case studies were needed to find solutions to the myriad of issues essential to a practical solutions.
However, each organisation faces key issues such as language, enterprise architecture, knowledge sharing, transparency, truth and trust, competence, demographics, passion, ideas, innovation and invention, employee retention etc, the list is extensive all of which needs bottom up, top down and internal and external governance. Recent industrial disasters such as Chernobyl, Fukushima, Mexican Gulf oil well and spill disaster, where the planning of safety for all aspects of the life cycle of the whole facility resulted in huge losses. And with specific viruses to degrade the performance of process automation software, the threats are real. It all starts with the question, what are the management performance needs, levels, targets and how these targets are maintained for the life cycle of the technology in use.
The increase in management performance is a case study in its own right. The increase to manage the safety of process automation (digital technology) is off the chart (scale) of current measuring practices. An overhaul of a countries measurement infrastructure is a possibility
This may rattle the chain, get the ball rolling or the chins waging?