One of the things I have observed in the recent past. Is that successful/innovative companies are generally built like a start-up. This is something Steve Jobs indicated during his interview with Walt Mossberg (allthingsd). And I am just reading this article in the Forbes magazine (Sep 2012 print edition) titled “the 30 year old startup”. It’s about Intuit and how they’ve leveraged innovation in order to thrive. Noticed the same trend here. Namely, ideas over hierarchy, everyone (including the CEO) playing by the same rules, all ideas are vetted by the same process – no matter where the ideas are coming from. This along with a bunch of other things is paramount, in order to sustain a culture of innovation.
Also, startups rarely find themselves drowning in process. And if they do, well, then something is wrong. Successful companies understand that and work really really hard to ensure that process does not kibosh innovation.
Coming back to where we started, as in the actual structure of the company. I strongly suspect that the era of the typical pyramid is dead. It’s dead or dying in the corporate world and other institutes would soon follow. What’s replacing it is a cluster of networks (social/interest based), collaboration, idea generation. That’s not to say that we do not need effective leadership and/or visionaries in the industry anymore. No. But the traditional top-down approach is gone and business and institutes that solely rely on that approach, will end up being the sore losers.