Management Experimentation

March 24, 2010

17.00 – 19.30
London Business School

How companies can pilot new ways of working in a low-risk and rigorous way

To make fundamental improvements in your management model, you need to be prepared to experiment with new and unproven ways of working. But it’s not a trivial matter to change the way you manage: the new approach may or may not work, and most people are comfortable with the status quo.

This MLab seminar focuses on the concept of experimentation in management. Building on the well-known principles of experimentation in research (e.g. before and after measures, treatment and control groups), the speakers will talk about how you can put in place a low-risk experiment to establish the value of your new idea, without disrupting the entire organisation.



Professor Julian Birkinshaw, London Business School, will lead the seminar. He will talk about the need for experimentation in management, drawing on the ideas in his forthoming book, Reinventing Management: Smarter Choices for Getting Work Done. He will also discuss the principles of effective experimentation.

Graham Kill is the CEO of Irdeto, a medium-sized media content and security company based in the Netherlands and China. Graham will talk about his decision in 2007 to experiment with a dual-core HQ for Irdeto, as a way of overcoming the “dominant mothership” mentality in the organisation. He will talk about how he has monitored the changes in Irdeto over the last three years, and the changes in behaviour and attitude that the dual-core HQ has brought about.

Paul Lambert is Chief Architect – Global Informatics for Roche, the Basel-based Pharmaceuticals company. He will describe a specific experiment that he and a team of colleagues put in place to challenge the bureaucracy in the company. They conducted a three-month experiment with two treatment groups and two control groups, and they achieved impressive results.


March 24th Schedule

16.30 – 17.00 Arrive at London Business School
17.00 – 18.45 Seminar
18.45 – 19.30 Drinks reception with speakers

How to sign up: Registration is free. To sign up, visit


Management & Innovation in a Changing World

October 8, 2009

Spend a full day with the world's most influential business thinker, Gary Hamel, to learn the secrets to building a company that's truly fit for the future. In this provocative and practical workshop, Hamel will provide you with a blueprint for building the essential capabilities that will distinguish tomorrow’s most successful organizations. Hamel’s goal: to help you become an inspired management innovator, and your company to become a successful management maverick.

Information and registration

The Art of Engagement: Getting the Most out of Your Employees

October 2, 2009

London Business School, 3:30–6:30pm

In most large companies, the number of employees who are highly engaged in their work is less than 30%, and the number actively disengaged is greater than 20%.  These figures are scandalous: engaged workers are the lifeblood of any creative or entrepreneurially-minded company, and most companies are simply failing to create the conditions that make people excited about coming to work. 

In this Conference, experts from the worlds of academia and business practice will discuss the latest ideas about employee engagement, and some of the innovative approaches to generating engagement that they have tried. Questions to be addressed include:

  • Why does engagement matter?
  • What are the key drivers of engagement in the workplace?
  • What practical steps can you take to make your workforce more engaged?

The conference is being hosted by the Management Lab (MLab), a research centre at London Business School whose mission is to accelerate the evolution of management.

Please Register Online

If you require further information, please contact Rosie Robertson | |
London Business School | Regent's Park | London NW1 4SA | United Kingdom




Arrival at London Business School and registration


Engage: Why Employee Engagement Matters

Panel Chair:
Stuart Crainer, Editor, commentator, & business consultant

Panel Speakers:
Nita Clarke, Involvement and Participation Association
David MacLeod, Macleod Review on Employee Engagement
Julian Birkinshaw, MLab


Coffee break


New and Innovative Models of Engagement

Julian Birkinshaw, MLab

Stephen Martin,”Under Cover Boss” – CEO, Clugston
Henry Stewart,”Relax, a Happy Business Story”, CEO Happy


Finish, and after event drinks reception


Our Speakers

Stuart Crainer is a commentator, consultant and adviser to leaders world-wide.  As a columnist, (formerly with  The London Times), his work appears in newspapers and magazines around the world.  Stuart is a visiting professor at Spain’s IE Business School, he is editor of Business Strategy Review, a contributing editor to the US-based magazine Strategy+Business and editor of the bestselling Financial Times Handbook of Management. He is author and co-author of a number of books including “The Future of Leadership, Generation Entrepreneur” and “The Management Century”.  Together with Des Dearlove, they created the Thinkers 50 – the influential global ranking of business thought leaders.

Nita Clarke is the Director of the Involvement and Participation Association (IPA).  She was formerly the adviser on trade unions to Prime Minister Tony Blair, working as assistant political secretary in the Political Office at 10 Downing Street from January 2001 to June 2007.  Her role included liaison with individual unions and the TUC, developing national policy in areas such).  as the two-tier workforce and work-life balance, supporting ministers by trouble-shooting in industrial disputes.  Nita was a senior official with public services union UNISON from 1992 -2001.  Nita worked closely with David MacLeod on a review of employee engagement commissioned by the British Government.

David MacLeod is an experienced business Leader and has held senior positions in both the private and public sector. As a senior advisor on change and performance to the Cabinet Office, he was responsible for advising the Government on a number of major initiatives.  Thus, his appointment to head the MacLeod Review on Employee Engagement.  The MacLeod Review was published this Summer (the first ever Government report on this topic).  David is a visiting professor of the Cass Business School at City University; and an associate of the professional services firm Towers Perrin. He is the co-author, with Chris Brady, of The Extra Mile: How to Engage Your People to Win, published by Financial Times Prentice Hall in 2008.

Julian Birkinshaw is a Professor of Strategic and International Management at London Business School.  He is Director and co-founder of the Management Innovation Lab (MLab).  His academic research is focused on strategy and management of multinational firms, corporate entrepreneurship, and management innovation.  Julian is widely published in academic journals and his article “Management Innovation”  was selected as the best paper in the leading journal, Academy of Management Review, in 2008.  His new book, Reinventing Management, will be published in January 2010.

Stephen Martin has a degree in quantity surveying and is an Alum of London Business School.  He is a fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Chartered Institute of Building.  Stephen is a Business Angel investor and a passionate supported of the Young Enterprise Programme.   He recently accepted a role as a Yorkshire Business Ambassador for the Regional Government Minister, Rosie Winterton.  In December 2006, Stephen joined Clugston Group.  He has restructured the business to operate on a subsidiary company basis and has implemented strategies to focus on three core operations - construction, logistics and property development.  His priorities to visit all its outpost and get to know employees from its offices, warehouses and building sites, led him on an incredible journey as an “Undercover Boss”- a reality TV programme,  shown on Channel 4 (June 2009). 

Henry Stewart is the founder and Chief Executive of Happy, who provide training in both desktop IT and how to create great workplaces. Henry believes that a company based around the principle that people work best when they feel good about themselves, is the type of company Happy itself is seeking to create.  Happy has won wide recognition for its innovative approach to management and to customer service.  Major clients include the NHS, Department of Work and Pensions, Charity Commission, Pfizer, UBS, Hackney Council and many charities.  The Financial Times - Best Place to Work Awards have rated Happy in the best 20 workplaces over the last four years.  In 2009, they were also rated as the best UK company for health and well-being.  Needless to say their 45 employees are indeed Happy!  Our participants will receive a copy of Henry’s book, “Relax - A Happy Business Story”. 


Management Innovation Conference: Copenhagen

September 3, 2009 - September 4, 2009

Julian Birkinshaw will be the keynote speaker at an Academic Conference on Management Innovation, organised by Copenhagen Business School, on 3rd and 4th September 2009. 

Please download the pdf file, or go to the conference website for more details.

Prague Conference on Management Innovation 2009

March 10, 2009

This conference will focus on the opportunities and conditions for management innovation in Central Europe and features speakers from leading companies. MLab visiting researcher Michael Mol will chair the conference and hold a keynote speech.

For more information, visit:

Innovation in the Workplace

January 28, 2009

How Web 2.0 and Generation Y are changing the way management work is done

The second wave of the Internet revolution, often called Web 2.0, has had an enormous impact on the way we interact with each other online and the ways we access and use information.   This is particularly so for Generation Y, the generation born after 1980, who were born into a high-tech, digital world, and who are now entering the workforce in large numbers. Generation Y employees communicate differently than their baby boomer or Generation X bosses, and they have different expectations about what constitutes an exciting and worthwhile work environment.

Profound as these trends are, they have not yet had a dramatic impact on the nature of management work itself—on the way that we make decisions, motivate employees, set objectives or coordinate activities.  But this is set to change: Generation Y employees are demanding new ways of working, and Web 2.0 is enabling the development of new tools and applications that are making such change possible.  

The purpose of this MLab conference is to explore the impact of Web 2.0 and Generation Y employees on innovation in the workplace. Speakers will include CEOs and senior executives from companies with highly innovative management models, and from thought leaders who are exploring the potential of these trends for a radically different workplace of the future.

Wednesday, January 28th
London Business School

3.00pm Arrive at London Business School
3.30pm Part 1: How Web 2.0 is changing management work
Jack Hughes, CEO, Topcoder
Sherman Rowland, CEO, Co-thrive
Don Sull, Professor, London Business School
Bruce Rayner, CEO, You at Work
5.00pm Coffee break
5.30pm Part 2: How Generation Y is changing management work
Ross Smith, Director, Testing solutions, Microsoft
Julian Birkinshaw, MLab
Peter Cheese, Managing Director, Accenture
7.15pm Finish, drinks reception


The MLab is supported by UBS Investment Bank,the David and Elaine Potter Charitable Foundation, and the CIPD.


Speaker Information

Jack Hughes is CEO of Topcoder, A Connecticut-based software company founded in 2002 that uses programming “tournaments” to develop software for its clients. This unique management model allows Topcoder to harness the voluntary efforts of programmers from all over the world. And it is a leading example of a “virtual” internet-enabled organisation.

Sherman Rowland is CEO of Co-thrive, a Massachusetts-based company that develops software to help monitor and manage employees’ commitments to one another. Its proprietary software facilitates dramatic improvements in organisational effectiveness, and offers the potential to change the way we work with one another.

Don Sull is Professor of Management Practice at London Business School, and a leading expert in managing strategic agility. He is a member of the advisory board of Co-thrive.

Ross Smith is Director of Test, Windows Security, at Microsoft in Redmond, WA. He is the architect of an organisational innovation at Microsoft, 42Projects, that has succeeded in dramatically enhancing the levels of trust and engagement in his team, many of whom are Generation Y employees.

Bruce Rayner is CEO of You at Work, a Canary-Wharf based provider of flexible benefits solutions for large companies and one of the fastest growing technology companies in the country. You at Work has recently developed a new offering with Web 2.0 facilities that encourage member participation and on-line social interaction.

Peter Cheese is Managing Director, Talent & Organization Performance at Accenture. Peter is an expert on the impact of Generation Y employees on the workplace of the future. He is the co-author of The Talent Powered Organisation: Strategies for Globalization, Talent Management and High Performance.

Julian Birkinshaw is a Professor at London Business School and cofounder of the Management Innovation Lab. His research is focused on the emergence of new management practices, processes and principles.


For further information, please contact:
Rosie Robertson
London Business School
Regent's Park
London NW1 4SA
United Kingdom

Innovation Symposium

December 9, 2008
Engaged Innovation: Strategies for Enhancing Employee Participation in the Innovation Process

Even in today’s tough economic conditions, most firms recognise the importance of innovation as an imperative for long-term success. They also recognise that the innovation process requires widespread participation from employees across the firm and beyond, if it is to be effective.  

However, employee participation in innovation is not easy to achieve. Many firms have put in place suggestions schemes, ideation programmes, venturing units, and on-line forums, but the success rate of such approaches is mixed.  Employees face capacity and motivation issues around their participation.  And there is often a lack of follow-through in well-intentioned schemes.

To address these challenges, we are hosting an innovation symposium at London Business School.  The key issues and questions to be addressed are:

  1. How do you create an open and responsive environment in your organisation for generating and developing new ideas?
  2. What is the role of on-line tools for enhancing the quality and quantity of ideas?  What are the limitations or risks in using such tools?
  3. What is the innovation agenda in an economic downturn?  Should firms adapt their approach to innovation in these tough times?

Confirmed Speakers
Tim Thorne, Group Innovation Director, RBS
Amanda West, Director of Innovation, Reuters
Paul Excell, Chief Customer Innovation Officer, BT
Martin Chyla, Innovation Director, Mars Central Europe

Chair: Julian Birkinshaw, Professor of Strategic & International Management and Co-founder of the MLab

15.00   Registration
15.30   Symposium starts
17.15   Symposium ends; drinks reception


Innovation Symposium, December 9th 2008, at 3pm
MLab at London Business School


If you would like to attend:

Please fill in the online registration form:
Innovation Symposium

Inquiries should be directed to:

Swiss Joint Alumni Annual Conference

September 26, 2008
Zurich, Switzerland

Representatives from the Management Lab will be hosting a workshop on Management Innovation.

For more information