Launching of the NextGen Enterprise Awards

Changing work in order to change the world — David Autissier, Luc Bretones

David Autissier, Head of ESSEC Managerial Innovation and Operational Excellence Chair & Luc Bretones, The NextGen Enterprise event organizer

In Silicon Valley and more generally in the United States, companies normally mention that they want to change the world during the presentation of the project. They boast that their project contributes greatly to this change. Well, some people will say that this is a form of Storytelling in order to give it a commercial approach. Perhaps, but these companies combine a societal mission and an entrepreneurial project in their presentations. So why deprive themselves of it! André Citroën, whose centenary brand we are proudly be celebrating this year, would he not have wanted to change the world by widening access to the automobile?

Would the company become a major place for changing the world? Sometimes companies are perceived, in an antagonistic way, as a place of exploitation and profit. Isn’t the contemporary company mutating towards a societal object as mentioned by the works of Frédéric Laloux?

The growing societal expression of the desire for participation, the complexity of competitive and regulatory environments and the need to rethink our production and consumption patterns in an environmentally conscious way, are all constraints and opportunities to rethink work and the organisational forms that make it possible.

There is a contradiction between the increasingly procedural and constraining systems in response to complexity of environments and ordinary innovation requirements (at all levels of the organisation) for differentiation and optimization challenges. This leads to a managerial crisis that sociologist François Dupuy called “lost in management”. In order to find solutions, many organisations develop managerial innovations to give people more room for manoeuvre and to develop their capacity for collective achievement.

The command/control model and the resulting functional-hierarchic structural organisations shift under the impetus of the collaborative and innovation requirements. This change cannot take the direct cutover approach by discarding the notions of supervision and the associated responsibilities. This change, which has already begun, is taking place in work and its organisation. This emergence has different names such as the future of work or managerial innovation. This involves renewing management practices, ways of working and the content of the work itself. Slasheurs (people with several jobs), start-ups, freelancers, holacratic or sociocratic organisations (power sharing and empowerment at local level), etc. are all expressions of this future of work. This raises questions of governance, responsibility, performance and mission that companies must integrate into their operations and organisation. Even if this can sometimes take the form of ineffective fashion effects, the movement is part of management in the form of managerial innovations.

Management is about getting people to cooperate under constraints (production, cost, quality). Managerial innovation consists in achieving this cooperation through commitment, taking into account societal changes and seeking a positive impact. It proposes new practices to give back to the company an entrepreneurial and societal dimension. Michelin has developed autonomous teams. Accor group has created a shadow cabinet to accelerate digital projects and Adobe has launched its Kickbox to develop ordinary innovation.

What all these practices have in common is that they not only offer more agile organisations with more autonomy but also more responsibilities. At the heart of these practices are the notions of innovation, agility, participation, collective intelligence and shared leadership. In order for these practices to be generalized and become standards, they must not remain at the experimental stage. They must be known and recognized. This is the objective of The NextGen Enterprise Summit. This summit is supported by the following companies ManpowerGroup, Maif and Holaspirit. The event will take place on March 26 and 27, 2020, at the Pierre Mendès France Conference Centre of the Ministry of Economy and Finance under the distinguished patronage of Bruno Le Maire. Recognizing new ways of working means participating in the movement of societal transformation of organisations and thus wanting to change the world.

The NextGen Enterprise Awards will reward management, organisation, governance and societal impact projects carried out in companies. The NextGen Enterprise Awards will reward operational and innovative ways used to transform and build a forward-looking company, the future of work and society.

Applications will be analysed by an international jury of professionals, experts and academics on managerial innovations.

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