GfP – Management Innovation Workbench

19. May 2008


On April 28, 2008, GfP and FUNKENSPRUNG hosted a workbench discussion forum regarding Management Innovation:

Organisation 2.0 – Sustainable creation of value by an innovative organisation

You can’t build a company that is fit for the future unless you build a company that is fit for human beings!“

Gary Hamel – “the world’s leading expert on business strategy” (Fortune magazine ) and “the world’s reigning strategy guru” (The Economist) – in his latest bestseller “The Future of Management”, HBSP, 2007.

Companies that don’t innovate die! This radical statement is supported by strong efforts to innovate by most companies. In areas such as product and process innovation or strategic planning, innovation management has developed and tremendously improved over the last couple years – keyword “Open Innovation”. But what has happened to innovations in management practice itself? What role place management innovation within the innovation stack? How innovative must the company of the future be organized and lead? What is the role of employers and employees in such an innovation environment?

Those were just a few questions we discussed in an open form at our workbench.

“Die Presse” summed it up very nicely on May 10, 2008 – not much to add:


Pictures from the evening.

Gesellschaft für Personalentwicklung – GfP


Innovation Lab Spaces01

by Bernhard Hoetzl

Management Innovation at Whole Foods Market

14. May 2008

To be honest: looking at the food retailing industry in general at a first glance, one would hardly imagine much of innovation. Usually it is high-tech companies such as Apple or Google that lead the attribute “Most Innovative”.

Nonetheless, Whole Foods Market, an American retailer, impressively proves that innovation, especially strategic and management innovation can be successfully implemented in any company of any industry:

“Founded in 1980 as one small store in Austin, Texas, Whole Foods Market® is now the world’s leading retailer of natural and organic foods, with more than 270 stores in North America and the United Kingdom. To date Whole Foods Market remains uniquely mission driven: We’re highly selective about what we sell, dedicated to stringent Quality Standards, and committed to sustainable agriculture.

We believe in a virtuous circle entwining the food chain, human beings and Mother Earth: each is reliant upon the others through a beautiful and delicate symbiosis.” (


What we find innovative about Whole Foods Market? The management’s lateral and out of the box style of organising and running the business.

Curious about their unique way to manage the stores – i.e. teams are fully responsible and autonomous to decide about their area, for example the seafood department in the store – I decided to check out one of their view markets in Europe, the one on High Street Kensington in London.

What I found was amazing – a gigantic super market for organic food and specialities, most aesthetically presented in a tremendous variety and appealing environment. I had the choice to pick out of ten (!) different types of tomatoes, some of them I have never seen before in my life, or more than 100 different types of cheese from seven continents.

Whole Foods Market is well known for it’s unique management innovation approach and has been highly successful by doing so – a visit to one of their stores will make this clear to you immediately and should get you to thinking about the potentials of management innovation in your company.

by Bernhard Hoetzl


Launch of MLabs at London Business School

13. May 2008

On May 2nd, 2008, I was invited to London Business School’s launch of Labzone:

„The world’s first Management Lab is a unique initiative with an equally unique and powerful perspective. Co-founded by professor Gary Hamel, “the world’s leading expert on business strategy” (Fortune) and Julian Birkinshaw, Professor of Strategic and International Management at London Business School, the Lab is a pioneering attempt to create a setting in which progressive companies and world-renowned management scholars work together to co-create “tomorrow’s best practices” today. The goal: to dramatically accelerate the evolution of management processes and practices that will define competitive success in the 21st century.“ (

Discussing the same topic on „how to manage the organisation 2.0 of the future?“ a couple days earlier at our Management Innovation Lab in Vienna, it was very exciting to learn directly from Alan Matcham, Director of MLabs, Professor Julian Birkinshaw, Co-founder and Research Director, and first corporate experiences with the MLabs method from Happy, UBS and Jaguar.

Professor Gary Hamel, who is Co-founder and Executive Director of the MLabs, provides a clear call for action for management innovation in his latest book „The Future of Management“, published in 2007.

We believe as well that radical change in management will be a necessity for a lot of companies in order to keep up with the fast paste of Google and co. and for survival of the next 5 years.

by Bernhard Hoetzl


“The Future of Management” (Gary Hamel, Bill Breen)


13. May 2008

A couple years ago I participated in a swarm intelligence session at a conference in Interlaken, Switzerland, and this event changed my direction of thinking – a lot. It was absolutely fascinating to observe how a large group of people starts developing it’s own collective thinking and achieves results that are above those of individuals in most cases, just as James Surowiecki indicates in „The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations“, first published in 2004. Earlier this year then I visited a speech in Vienna by Peter A. Gloor, Professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Helsinki University of Technology and the University of Cologne. Peter Gloor developed the topic in „Swarm Creativity: Competitive Advantage Through Collaborative Innovation Networks“, published in 2005 and together with Scott Cooper in „Coolhunting: Chasing Down the Next Big Thing“ in 2007:

Apple with the iPod and iTunes, Google with its search engine, AdSense and a whole portfolio of innovative new products, Toyota with the Prius hybrid car, Nespresso with it’s trendy coffee machines and companies such as Whole Foods Market with breakthrough management models always seem to have an answer to the question „What will be the next cool thing and market trend?“ The search for the source of trends was coined as „coolhunting“ years ago.

Gloor and Cooper deeply analyse what „coolhunting“ is really about in a world of connected thinking, social networks and global online communication. Their discoverings are tremendously exciting and explain how groups of people work together to innovate. Many of the best ideas don’t come from single individuals or corporate research labs, but from the collective efforts of groups of people (Collaborative Innovation Networks – COINs). Those networks operate best under certain pre-conditions such as non-profit common goals (many open source projects work under the same principles). Gloor and Cooper developed a tool that allows to analyse communication in such COINs and identify trendsetters.

More and more business leaders around the globe start realizing the benefits and enormous potential of collective minds when it comes to innovation. The collective wisdom of crowds is all present in our today’s world. I therefore was not surprised when I asked the students in one of my innovation management lectures, if they can imagine studying in a world without Wikipedia and the answer was – „NO“!

by Bernhard Hoetzl

“Coolhunting: Chasing Down the Next Big Thing” (Peter Gloor, Scott Cooper)

Management innovation talk at bwin

1. May 2008

Ich hatte am 16. April die Gelegenheit mit den Produktmanagern von bwin über Innovation und im speziellen über Management Innovation zu sprechen: die Frage nach “engagement” der Mitarbeiter und der kontinuierlichen Produktion von Innovationen ergab spannende Diskussionen.

by Florian M. Stieger