We've heard a lot about the business practices of the tried and true American innovators like Apple, Google, and Facebook. But there's also a lot of innovation happening outside of Silicon Valley, let alone the U.S. And we can learn from it all.
So where do you look?
Some of the most progressive social policies have originated in Scandinavia -- specifically Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. Sweden, for example, gives up to 480 days of leave per child, which can be taken all at once or split up between parents over time as paid time off until the child is 8 years old. The country also covers a significant portion of child care costs to ensure working parents get the support they need to remain productive. These Nordic counties also consistently rank highest on the World Happiness Report (Norway was No. 1 this year).
It makes sense to take notice when a few hundred Nordic companies including Ikea, Lego, Volvo, H&M, Novo Nordisk, and Maersk come together with the sole purpose of "hacking management" -- which is exactly what they did last month.
The goal? Identify specific ways to reinvent big-company management practices to make them more current and relevant for today's fast-paced, innovation-based world.
Sponsored by a Nordic innovation initiative called Fragile to Agile, hundreds of innovators from the most progressive companies in the region identified specific opportunities to take management to the next level -- and, in some cases, blow it up altogether. Here are some of their more interesting hacks:
- Choose your own leader. Let every employee decide who they want to report to.
- Create radical transparency. Use an internal "Trip Advisor" rating system that evaluates the level of engagement and purpose of specific departments and offices based on employee reviews.
- Become a leader for a week. On a rotating basis, let employees swap roles with their leader to help increase understanding, in both directions, of job functions, roles, and challenges.
- Set leadership term limits. To avoid creating silos and fiefdoms, define a specific period of time any leader can be in their particular role. After that time, they must rotate to another department or group, which also encourages the cross-fertilization of talent and ideas.
Sure, these ideas may not be realistic for every company. But in today's day and age, one thing is clear: Hacking management itself is perhaps management's biggest imperative -- if you want innovation.