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It used to be that people thought companies could flourish by finding and discussing good ideas internally. Yet much of recent business history has proved that this is no longer the case.

/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/potential_311482.jpgIn the 21st century, we face the challenge of developing organizations that are capable of discovering, nurturing and aggregating contributions from people beyond traditional boundaries. Organizations that thrive in this interconnected world must harness social media and mobile technologies to activate, enlist and organize talent across boundaries. In other words, leaders need to invert the pyramid and shift to value-creating networks to win.

At the same time, organizations must recognize the value of individual contribution. Individual ingenuity, initiative and passion fuel the innovation economy. Yet these attributes cannot be commanded from higher levels of the organization. They must be invited and nurtured.

Social media and other digital platforms can help achieve the right mix. They offer robust and effective alternatives to industrial-era forms of organizing. And they are available to just about anyone—from global conglomerates to emerging start-ups and neighborhood citizen groups.

Higher levels of engagement will make the organization attractive to talented millennials. This generation has grown up in a digital age, with social media allowing thoughts and ideas to be shared instantaneously. Their values, world views and expectations are very different from previous generations, as Jacob Morgan explains in Forbes. And yet, the vast majority of organizations haven’t adapted beyond management practices and organizational designs of the 1920s – one reason why some of such organizations do not always appeal to the new generation. Millennials are proponents of co-working opportunities and open innovation to generate creative ideas. Bill McDermott, co-CEO of SAP, believes that the millennial generation is inspiring traditional organizations to change.

It is in this spirit that SAP has partnered with Gary Hamel and his team at MIX to launch the SAP Unlimited Human Potential M-Prize. The aim is to find the most innovative ideas for unleashing human capabilities to produce new approaches to organizing, competing and creating advantages. This global challenge is looking for creative ideas that will shape the future of business by aggregating human capability, tapping into emerging digital technologies,
and collaborating with people beyond organizational boundaries.

The challenge will involve using convergence of new technologies – like cloud, big-data, mobile and social media – that enables companies to create new business models. This will empower people and help them achieve their potential at a scale never seen before.

Contestants will be judged by panelists who are well-known for disruptive ideas that have transformed the way people work. They include Lisa Gansky, author of The Mesh: Why the Future of Business is Sharing; Gary Hamel, author of Competing for the Future and What Matters Now; Charlene Li, Managing Partner, Altimeter Group and author of Open Leadership; Jacob Morgan, Co-founder, Chess Media Group and author of The Collaborative Organization; and Don Tapscott, author of Wikinomics.

Now it’s your turn. What are you or your organization doing to unleash and capture human capability wherever it exists? Make a case for how your management or business model creates a real impact in your organization and beyond. Peter Drucker once said “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” By sharing a great case study or contributing a pioneering idea, you can help shape the future of business. And your award will not just be the #SAPMPrize: you will help shape a better run world. 

To learn more, visit the SAP M-Prize online platform.

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