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InfoQ Homepage News Stoos Network - A Conversation with Jurgen Appelo

Stoos Network - A Conversation with Jurgen Appelo

This is the second item looking at the recent Stoos Network event, InfoQ is interviewing the organizers and participants to get their impressions and asperations having attended the event.

Jurgen Appelo is the author of Management 3.0 and is one of the three organizers of the event.  He spoke to Shane Hastie from InfoQ:

Why did you attend?
I attended because I was one of the four people who organized it. :-)
And I helped organized it because I am passionate about helping change organizations to adopt styles of management that are more people-centric and network-driven.

How was the meeting itself organised?
The only thing we organized in advance was that everyone had to prepare a 5-minute contribution about themselves and their passions, which were presented on the first day. After that, we let things emerge. What emerged was an open space in the morning of the 2nd day, and a world cafe in the afternoon.

Were the right people at the event? If so, why and if not who was missing?
Yes and no. We invited many people, but we had picked a date that was for many too soon to be able to attend, because of other commitments they already had. In the spirit of Open Space I think the people who were there were the right people. On the other hand, there was a bit of an imbalance because some groups of stakeholders (for example, top management) were underrepresented because they had far busier schedules. But it was a chicken-and-egg situation really. One of the items discussed at the event was "who are the stakeholders?" And I saw some groups of stakeholders emerge that we had never even considered for the invitations. We needed this first event to see who the stakeholders actually are! Of course, it is also near impossible to have a comprehensive and balanced representation, with only 21 people.

What do you feel is the relationship between the Stoos Network and contemporary management movements, how will they be complimentary or contradictory or indifferent?
My take has always been that the Stoos event was purely meant to discuss how to catalyze movements that are already doing great jobs in parralel to each other. We didn't want to be a replacement for anyone else's hard work. We were discussing ways to bring the many strands of "new management" together. I actively argued against any suggestions from participants that could be interpreted by others as "competition" to their ideas. For example, as soon as "values and principles" for good management were being discussed, I said there are already dozens of good models with values and principles for management. We really don't need yet another one. We should bring together the ones that already exist, instead of trying to compete.

What is the most concrete and specific thing that you took away from the event?
For me the most concrete outcome is the core idea of seeing organizations as "learning networks of diverse individuals creating value". This resonates very well with me, and I believe it is a fundamental idea that underlies all the different management movements out there. No matter whether people prefer Management 3.0, Radical Management, Beyond Budgeting, Wiki-Management, the Toyota Way, or anything else, this is something we can all believe in.

What are the changes you would like to see happening as a result of the formation of the Stoos network?
I would like to see other people organize more events, either because they liked what we did and want to organize a follow-up involving the wider network. Or because they hated what we did, and they think they can do better. Either is fine with me. Catalyzing organizational transformation is going to take a lot of work by many people. I will do my best to be involved where I can.

The Stoos Communiqué is very open-ended – in your opinion how can people contribute most effectively to making the changes?
Contact other change agents who are passionate about the same things. Keep discussing how to bring organizations forward. Connect different initiatives that are already out there, and bring them together. We have many people who are trying to change the way organizations are managed, and they mostly do it on their own. Me included! I'm sure we can have more of an impact if we organize things together, while still allowing for all the personal flavors. The open question is of course, "How?" At the Stoos Gathering we spent just 1.5 days making a first small step. More steps are needed.

Looking into the future: how might the Stoos Network operate?
I don't know. Ideas will have to grow with other people. I will be offering mine, and others are offering theirs. Some ideas will be picked up, others will not. May the best idea win. :-)

Jurgen has also written a series of blog posts discussing the event.


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