Innovation in Organizational Structure

A recent article examines emerging alternatives to traditional corporate structures.

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We’re used to thinking about innovation in technology, in products or services, or even in management methods or business models. But in a recent article in strategy+business, Marjorie Kelly highlights a type of innovation that is less commonly discussed: innovation in corporate structure, ownership and governance.

Kelly, a senior associate with the Tellus Institute, suggests that some of the behaviors that helped lead to the financial crisis in 2008 are a result of the intense focus on short-term profits that characterizes many contemporary for-profit companies.

She suggests that new emerging models — such as a “social business” that has a social mission as well as a profit-making one and that does not seek to maximize the profits investors receive — “can be thought of as emergent new organizational species, occupying a new sector of society that is a greenhouse of design experimentation in which the future of our economy may be growing.”

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