Gary Hamel, the world’s most influential business thinker according to the Wall Street Journal, told delegates at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)’s annual conference that ‘management is a busted flush’ and needs to be rebuilt from the bottom up. Bureaucracy must die, he said, because if you don’t kill it, it will kill your organisation.

Mr Hamel told the audience that HR has more responsibility for improving competitiveness and productivity than any other profession and needs to be as experimental as marketing and R&D departments. He urged HR professionals to challenge old beliefs about management and leadership and rethink core principles. ‘Management 1.0’, as he called it, was developed to create stability, precision and control. He argued that organisations who want to thrive in today’s world instead need to give employees freedom to innovate. He explored how ‘management 2.0’ should draw on some of the key tenets of the world wide web, including disaggregation, the power of communities and the creation of natural hierarchies.

The conference will continue with the theme of innovation tomorrow, in a panel discussion called Networking across boundaries (F3, 11:15am). Dr Graham Abbey from the University of Bath, Tony Cooke, HR director at Adidas, Dean Shoesmith, joint executive head of human resources at London Boroughs of Sutton and Merton, and Dr. John McGurk, research adviser at the CIPD, will explore how collaboration and knowledge sharing can help drive innovation within an organisation.

Dr. McGurk will also share insights from the first in a new series of CIPD research insights on HR and its role in innovation, written by researchers at the University of Bath. The report, Innovative forms of organising, provides a detailed exploration of how Marks and Spencer brought its own staff and the staff of its network of logistics provider together into ‘One Team’.

Dr. John McGurk, research adviser at the CIPD, said: “Competing in a global economy requires new ways of thinking and doing. Innovation is not always about invention and product development – a great deal of innovation is about re-thinking and re-organisation systems, processes and structures. If the UK is to lift its currently poor productivity performance, it is likely to be through improving the way work is organised to release innovation and thus productivity.

Some businesses are already organising work beyond traditional organisational boundaries and are reaping the benefits associated with knowledge sharing and collaboration. However, this new networked way of working requires us to rethink what we mean by human capital – it is no longer simply the people whom we employ and manage directly, but also those who work for clients and network partners. The challenges and opportunities for HR and L&D professionals are not insignificant, but we hope the insights discovered by the researchers at the University of Bath will help them play a crucial role in unleashing innovation within their organisations.”