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Innovation leaders need new styles of management. By tracing the evolution of management practice we have discerned what we believe are the characteristics of 5th generation management.

The chart below shows the evolution over the other four generations.

  1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
as the Asset
as the Asset
as the Asset
as the Asset
as the Asset
Core Strategy R&D in Isolation Link to Business Technology/Business Integration Integration With Customer R&D Collaborative Innovation System
Change Factors Unpredictable Serendipity Inter-dependence Systematic R&D Management Accelerated Discontinuous Global Change Kaleidoscopic Dynamics
Performance R&D as Overhead Cost-Sharing Balancing Risk/Reward 'Productivity Paradox' Intellectual Capacity/Impact
Structure Hierarchical;
Functionally Driven
Matrix Distributed Coordination 'Multi Dimensional' Communities of Practice Symbiotic Networks
People We/They Competition Proactive Cooperation Structured Collaboration Focus on Values and Capacity Self Managing Knowledge Workers
Process Minimal Communication Project to Project Basis Purposeful R&D/Portfolio Feedback Loops and 'information persistence' Cross-Boundary Learning and Knowledge Flow
Technology Embryonic Data-Based Information-Based IT as a Competitive Weapon Intelligent Knowledge Processors

Map Your Own Organisation

In our consultancy work, we find that management teams find it useful and instructive to map where their own organisation is on each of the dimensions. A suggested approach is as follows:

  1. Print out this page and distribute to members of your team.
  2. Ask each person to circle for each row (using two colored pens):
    a. the current practice
    b. the desirable end-point, taking account of your industry and markets
  3. Now compare and contrast. Discuss the differences.

It is this discussion that encourages tacit knowledge sharing and gives each participant new insights into their own management practice. You might then like to compare your results here, with that of the more specific Litmus Test, designed to gauge your organisation against the knowledge innovation leaders.


Litmus Test - English | - Spanish | - Portuguese | - French | - Chinese |

Fifth Generation Management | Kenovation Assessment - Ten Steps to Success | Best Practices | Context, Company, and Customer | Intangible Value: Trends | Knowledge Innovation Assessment Software |


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Last updated: 27 Jan 2000