Polly LaBarre is a best-selling author, speaker and entrepreneur who has worked for 20 years to embolden and equip leaders to make their organizations more resilient, innovative, inspiring, and accountable.
Co-founder (with Gary Hamel) and Editorial Director of the Management Innovation eXchange (MIX), Polly is putting her passion for making the realm of human endeavor more productive, creative, and fulfilling to the test. She is a provocative voice on the big ideas and important questions that will shape the future of organizations, work, and success.
The MIX is a pioneering open innovation project dedicated to reinventing management for the 21st century. The initiative, which aims to leverage the collaborative power of Web 2.0 to accelerate the development of Management 2.0, gathers celebrated thought leaders, in-the-trenches innovators, and maverick entrepreneurs from around the world to share breakthrough practices and advance important ideas about the future of organizations, work, and strategy.
Supported by several leading institutions, including McKinsey & Co, Red Hat and Gartner Inc, and partnered with Harvard Business Review and Fortune Magazine, the MIX hosts the Harvard Business Review/McKinsey Prize for Innovation -the world's leading idea contest in the field of management- and the MIX Mashup, annual gathering of the vanguard of management innovators hosted by Polly herself.
Polly was a member of the original team of Fast Company Magazine, where she worked as Senior Editor for the better part of a decade, and a business and innovation correspondent for CNN, where she produced regular segments on big ideas and best practices from the world of business and beyond.
Polly is Co-author of the best-selling book "Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win" - which The Economist named "Book of the Year" and called "a pivotal work in the tradition of In Search of Excellence and Good to Great," published in 16 countries around the world.
Sought-after speaker, moderator, and interviewer, Polly has delivered hundreds of keynote addresses around the world and her writing has been featured in a variety of publications, including Fast Company Magazine, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Fortune.com, McKinsey Quarterly, and Huffington Post - among others.
Her widely syndicated blog "Fresh MIX" convenes important thinkers, progressive practitioners, and agenda-setting ideas about 21st century organizations. She has been featured in forums ranging from a regular commentary on PBS's "Nightly Business Report," to CNBC's "The Business of Innovation" series, to frequent segments on ABC's "World News" and "Good Morning America."
Polly's most recent research focuses around social innovation and sustainable capitalism - what it means to win when "good" is the new measure of "great". In her speeches, she showcases her brilliant storytelling ability and takes audiences on an inspiring journey - bringing to life the people, organizations and ideas on the fringe of creating the future.
She currently serves on the board of advisors of TakingITGlobal, the leading online community for connecting and empowering young people to make a difference in the world.
Creating Adaptable, Innovative and Inspiring Organizations
We live in a world where change is relentless and disruptive - even shocking. Success has never been more fleeting, and the ability to adapt more important. In this context, one of the most important questions leaders face is: are you changing as fast as the world is changing?
The "modern organization" was designed over a century ago - not to adapt but to preserve the status quo, not to invent the new but to clamp down on deviations from the norm, and not to unleash people but to control them. Founding member of Fast Company Magazine Polly LaBarre has been exploring how to change the DNA of an entrenched organization for nearly two decades.
Polly offers fresh perspectives to cast the most fundamental challenges for leaders and organizations in new light; after her presentations, audiences walk away with mind-flipping insights on how to evolve their management model -the most powerful source of competitive advantage today- and build an organization that is truly fit for the future: endlessly adaptable, relentlessly inventive, and genuinely inspiring.
Making Innovation an Everyday, Everywhere Capability
What company today doesn't put innovation at the top of the agenda? Yet few have devoted the energy and resources it takes to build innovation into the values, processes, and practices that rule everyday activity and behavior. No wonder. That disconnect is a product of organizational DNA - productivity, predictability, and alignment are embedded in the marrow of our management systems.
Instead, it is experimentation, risk-taking, and variety that produce game-changing innovation. Founding member of Fast Company Magazine Polly LaBarre demonstrates how to make every management process a catalyst -rather than a wet blanket- for innovation.
She shares how the world's most innovative organizations and leaders are strengthening their innovation DNA and shows audiences how to lay out the welcome mat for new and even dissenting ideas, upgrade the innovation skills of every person in the organization, build in the crucial space and slack needed for innovation, develop a robust set of innovation metrics and tools, leverage new social technologies in service of invention, bust bureaucracy and promote experimentation.
Human Organizations for Human Beings
For way too long the ruling ideology of most organizations has been control - control over people, control over information, control over deviations from the norm. That's exactly the wrong design for generating the innovation and engagement required to thrive in the 21st century. Today, leaders must shift their focus from controlling their "resources" to mobilizing and unleashing the full imagination, passion and initiative of every person inside the organization.
Those fundamental human qualities are the engine of the creative economy. They cannot be commanded, only inspired. In this presentation, founding member of Fast Company Magazine Polly LaBarre shares how to create an environment and systems for work that unleash freedom, creativity and contribution - how to create an organization that is as human as the people who work inside it.
She takes audiences on a journey deep inside the "positive deviants" - the organizations and leaders riding the waves of change, mastering the competition, and surprising their customers and partners by busting bureaucracy, instituting radical autonomy, rethinking the work of leadership, promoting artistry and creativity, and cultivating trust and well-being.
From Web 2.0 to Management 2.0
In the coming years the Web will have as profound an effect on management models as it has had on business models. The social Web is a seedbed of new organizational forms where coordination happens without centralization, all ideas compete on equal footing, contribution counts for more than credentials, mediocrity gets exposed, communities form spontaneously around shared interests, power comes from sharing rather than hoarding, and intrinsic rewards matter most of all.
Founding member of Fast Company Magazine Polly LaBarre shows why organizations must radically rethink how they mobilize people and organize resources to productive ends. She looks at progressive companies that are using the new social technologies and undergirding principles of the Web to reinvent how they do strategy, allocate resources, make decisions, lead, engage, develop, and reward people.
The End of Leadership as we Know It
The age of the heroic, all-knowing, all-powerful leader is over. From the citizen activists of Arab Spring, to the protestors of Occupy Wall Street, to the emergence of Pirate Parties across Europe and the increasingly vocal disgruntled passengers of many an airline, the message is clear - the established way of leading, ruling, governing, and managing is not working anymore. But if the leader is not in charge, what is the work of leadership today?
Founding member of Fast Company Magazine Polly LaBarre's presentation builds on the key theme of the new age; leadership is no longer a function of your title or where you sit in the organization - it's a function of your capacity to get things done with other people, meaning that at some point or another everybody in the organization has a chance to exercise his or her leadership capability.
Maverick Manual for Success
The future belongs to the mavericks. If we want originality and game-changing disruption in our organizations, we need to fill them with people who ignore the rules, flout convention, defy the gravity of the status quo, question constantly, and experiment fearlessly. In a world of non-stop competition and rampant commodification, mavericks are the people who invent the future and create the most value.