The Management of Ideas in the Creating Organization

The Management of Ideas in the Creating Organization

The Management of Ideas in the Creating Organization

The Management of Ideas in the Creating Organization


Of the three key resources important to organizations--money, people, and ideas--the least developed in corporations and organizations of almost any type is the third resource: ideas. Tropman goes beyond the popular notions of the "learning organization" to propose the "creating organization," an organization which understands that the initiation, development, and implementation of ideas is the key to organizational success in the next century. Who, for example, handles the store of ideas? Management knows who handles the money, but what about ideas? Tropman introduces the concepts of Idea Management and Idea Leadership and calls them central to success at work both in the public and private sectors. "The ability to generate ideas and put them quickly into action will be the next competitive edge," says Tropman. How this works in today's organizations and how it must work in tomorrow's is laid out here. Important reading for management at all levels and for their colleagues in the academic community.


Gersh Morningstar

This is a terrific book. I worked with John Tropman in writing an earlier book (Entrepreneurial Systems for the 1990s), and I regret that my business schedule kept me from participating in this one. It is full of good ideas. Let me stress two. The first is the importance of innovation—its messiness and unorganization. An old mentor of mine explained it to me, after a company I owned and cared a lot about went bankrupt: “Listen! Organization is the death of creativity. All successful enterprise is born in chaos. The real trick in success is knowing when not to create mechanisms to achieve well-defined objectives.” This lesson came from the man who developed the loved, hated, and universally misunderstood organizational tool, Management by Objectives.

Creativity, then, is the genesis of all enterprise. It provides the seed from which a company will grow. As the company grows, it is necessary to impose ever-expanding structures upon it in order to organize and track its activities. As the organization becomes more complex, constraints and restraints arise in the form of rules, policies, charters, corporate by-laws, traditions, and history. Finally, creativity diminishes the further it moves away from chaos. Negative entropy is its ultimate enemy. This book helps make creativity a daily event, not an occasional one.

John sees the organization as balanced between chaos and structure. He elected to look at a business enterprise as a living system and attempted to examine the forces that affect its critical subsystems, without which no living thing can continue to live. While he did not recreate the detailed subsystems schema that characterize the work of others (James Grier Miller, for example), he did arrive at the same final understanding of why some living systems (businesses in this case) continue to live and why some die. Traditional vec-

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