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Put the MIX Into Practice

taylor-tomasini's picture

Put the MIX Into Practice

By Taylor Tomasini on February 13, 2013

Here's a crazy idea: What if you turned the MIX community into a community of real-life problem solvers. Organizations (maybe non-profits) could post their challenges to the MIX and the community could then work collaboratively to help solve each problem using the tools and innovative thinking provided on the MIX. This would give practical expression to the ideas of the MIX and would help spread management innovation in a way ideas alone cannot.

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jerry-hoglund's picture

Just joined recently, but definitely interested in the concept of of presenting real business problems/issues to the group for resolution ideas. As a consultant, I am always looking for better ways to serve my clients!!


sam-folk-williams's picture

I like this idea for sure. To simplify a bit, it feels to me somewhat like having a forum feature on the website (or some more advanced version of that). Almost like stackoverflow or a LinkedIn group. Basically just adding a new type of content to the MIX - in addition to stories, hacks, moonshoots, etc you add "questions" or "puzzles" where people seek insight from the community on a problem.

Right now the content is really geared toward people posting ideas vs. problems. Allowing people to post problems/challenges opens it up a bit.

paul-green-jr's picture


Great idea. I agree wholeheartedly. Didn't see this before I posted a similar response in another area--but this is the best way to leverage the MiX community.

taylor-tomasini's picture

Let's do it.

Bruce: I think that's at least two people who are committed to piloting the idea.

taylor-tomasini's picture

A couple of thoughts, Bruce. Let me know what you think.

Openness: Your point that we should lean toward openness and transparency is right on. I agree that MIX work should be publicly available, so I'm changing my original thoughts on that.

Incentives: Here is a quote from the Wikimedia MIX story, "'Crowdsourcing' strategy is not about getting people to do your work for you for free. It's about opening up a process and inviting others to work with you on something everyone cares about. People participate in Wikipedia and its sister projects because they find it compelling. Even though we knew we were starting with community of passionate, brilliant people, we also knew that if they didn't find a strategy process compelling, they wouldn't participate."

I think the incentive can be about people caring enough to make a difference, as opposed to working in order to be recognized.

Rapid Prototyping: Giving it a shot is the best way to find out what works and what doesn't; however, we'd want to try this idea in a way that minimizes the potential for failure.

Here's a thought on how we might do that. When Seth Godin wanted to write his newest book The Icarus Deception he reached out to his community with a proposition: if x number of you pre-buy the book then I'll write it. Extrapolating to the MIX: What if we were able to get a certain number of people to commit to tackling a reasonable real-world problem before it was released to the community?

If we do it that way, then you can open up the challenge to the entire community, knowing that you'll have at least enough people involved to make a solid dent in the problem. The challenge happens. The problem is addressed. And then you have a very real way to reflect on lessons learned from the challenge and MIX community participation.


michele-zanini_4's picture

Hi Taylor, this is really helpful and very much in line with some of the things we're considering. We think there's potential at both the "institutional level" (e.g., company X bids out a problem), as well as the "individual" level (e.g., Joe, HR leader in department Y, thinks performance reviews in his unit suck and wants some help in experimenting with alternative models).

thanks again


taylor-tomasini's picture

Let me know how I can help.

bruce-stewart's picture

Hi Taylor,

Thanks these are all very good ideas. I'll share them with our team and see if we can move forward on this front.


P.S. I fixed the display issue with this idea and removed the duplicate entries you had made.

bruce-stewart's picture

Thanks Stephen, I love this idea. We've had thoughts along these lines before, to find a way to open up our M-Prize challenge and hackathon systems to smaller, possibly self-service problem solving for people with management innovation issues to use. In our traditional M-Prize challenges there are media sponsors and part of the incentive for participation is wide-spread recognition for the winners, but if we started smaller, non-sponsored challenges that kind of exposure beyond the MIX site likely wouldn't be something we could promise.

Do you have any thoughts on what could motivate MIX users to participate in smaller, non-sponsored challenges?

I'm also curious about your idea that people or orgs would submit their challenges privately, what do you think the advantages are of a private system like that? We understand that some issues involve sensitive and proprietary information, but we lean towards openness and transparency and having our MIX work being publicly available.

teodoro-s-ocampo's picture

I concur with the suggestions of Taylor Tomasini. In addition let us encourage , motivate and involve more heavily social enterprises and social entrepreneurs to be at the forefront on this management innovation initiative since they are very much needed to further revolutionize management practices which were once the exclusive domain of private businesses. Social enterprises and entrepreneurs pursue inherently societal goals- uplifting human conditions, social justice and the planet's environment while achieving their economic goals- the lack of which is why conventional private businesses triggered massive global financial malaise and as we speak still ravaging Europe ( the models of Sara Lee in Spain and Human Nature of Gawad Kalinga(GK) in the Philippines)