The Great Transformation: A Turning Point

Increasingly, world leaders are recognizing that the world’s management systems must either be transformed or will fail in their stated purposes. With the high value that the Lean Systems Society places on system transformation, this is great news. The breakthrough management paradigm developed by Lean Systems Society Fellow Stephen Denning, called “Radical Management,” has played a major role in that transformation.

One of the leading venues in which such change is starting to propagate is the Drucker Forum.

“We have arrived at a turning point,” says the launch abstract of the Global Peter Drucker Forum 2014. “Either the world will embark on a route towards long-term growth and prosperity, or we will manage our way to economic decline.”

World leaders in leadership, management and strategy, including Stephen Denning as an invited speaker, will converge on Vienna Austria on November 13-14, 2014 for the Forum. Building on the success of the 2013 Forum, the organizers announced the theme of the 2014 Forum: “The Great Transformation—Managing Our Way to Prosperity.” The full abstract of the launch is here.

“The very coherence of our societies is at stake. Incremental changes won’t suffice – it is about ideas of what should be done are abundant, but the main challenge remains how to achieve the better outcomes. The track record for transforming organizations, whether companies, non-profits, social security agencies, educational institutions or providers of government services, is extremely poor, to say the least. We seem to be far from a practical understanding of how to cope with the increasing complexity of our interconnected social systems and we produce ever more unintended results as we try to change them….

“Are managers, leaders, and entrepreneurs up to the task of tackling the great transformation that we face? Most would argue that they are not. Hence: what can we do about this? What does it take to reshape Management as an effective social technology (as Drucker called it) for transforming our institutions and organizations?”

Under the lens of the great transformation, specific issues to be discussed at the Forum include:

  • Does the practice of Management need fundamental change? What should it be?
  • What is the common layer of management on which specializations such as Marketing, Supply Chain Management, and Talent Management should be based?
  • How can Economics and Management be repositioned as complementary disciplines to create the conditions for change – at a macro level tightly coupled to the micro level where managers and knowledge workers create the future.
  • What are the management skills and leadership competencies required to achieve continuous innovation and transformation within organizations?
  • What is the future of work? How can companies contribute to create job opportunities for the generations to come? Can we finally set free the human potential embedded in organizations?
  • What are new organization forms that may be more adequate for an environment of continuous transformation?
  • What can we learn from agile small and mid-sized companies in terms of change-management and adaptability?”

Other speakers addressing these themes will include Clayton Christensen, Adi Ignatius, Pankaj Ghemawat, Rita Gunther McGrath, and Vineet Nayar.

Launch events and the HBR blog

A first launch event took place on March 10 in Vienna, Austria. An account of the launch is available here, with the title, “Can management get us out of the mess it has created?”

Another launch event is to take place in Paris, France on July 11, 2014.

The Forum 2014 has organized a Blog Series with its strategic partner, Harvard Business Review for the Forum 2014. The first blog and discussion is under way here:

And read also an account of the Drucker Forum in November 2013:

Drucker Forum 2013: A New Center of Gravity for Management

Other related articles of interest include:

The Copernican Revolution In Management

The Meaning of Management: The Great Awakening

The five big surprises of radical management

Steve Denning’s most recent book is: The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management: Reinventing the Workplace For the 21st Century (Jossey-Bass, 2010).
Follow Steve Denning on Twitter @stevedenning

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