NextGen Summit 2021: the four pillars of managerial innovation


The NextGen Enterprise Summit 2021 is taking place from the 24th to the 26th of November 2021, for a second edition. This international event, co-organized by NextGen with KPMG, OCTO Technology, Aneo, Holaspirit and BNP Paribas, focuses on managerial innovation, new forms of governance and the federation of the ecosystem and vital forces of the enterprise to fulfil its purpose. Co-authored by Luc Bretones, Philippe Pinault and Olivier Trannoy, The Next Generation Enterprise examines the wave of renewal facing traditional management around the world through 250 stories of avant-garde leaders in 30 countries. Policymakers – as in France through the PACTE law – are also joining the many private initiatives to reinvent management and re-engage employees.

Over the course of three days, more than fifty speakers will take turns to shed light on the four pillars of managerial innovation. What are they? What do they consist of? Here is an overview.

Change starts with Me!

Prior to federating a team or an organization around new managerial principles, it is essential that leaders’ mindsets evolve. There can be no transformation if the management of the enterprise is not at least aware of the imperative need for change, in order to adapt on the one hand, but also to differentiate itself and perform in an increasingly fast and complex market context. What the Anglo-Saxons call the “mindset” represents the breeding ground for transformation, and without it the social body will perceive any change as top-down, imposed and ultimately alien to their initiative. The pandemic has clearly accelerated awareness and the importance of a good collaborative functioning, as autonomous and responsible as possible.

Co-construction will not only make it possible to design a more sophisticated governance model – the result of a comprehensive collective intelligence – but also to engage all stakeholders – employees, partners – in its service, as they will recognize the project as their own.

Me and my team

Taylorian management schematically describes leaders who think and employees who execute within the framework of a process divided into tasks that are as detailed as possible. The objective of this method, which dates back to the heyday of industrial capitalism, is to reduce the unexpected and make the people involved as interchangeable as possible.

The VUCA context – Volatile Uncertain Chaotic and Ambiguous – of the innovation economy in which we are evolving under the influence of the last industrial revolution – that of the Internet – blows up this mechanical vision of the organization in favor of an organic, continuous evolution of collectives. The latter are structured in rather small teams that interact with each other like the cells of a living organism. The hierarchy of subordination of individuals gives way to a hierarchy of teams, themselves made up of roles rather than job descriptions, whose obsolescence derives from their very nature, namely static.

The relationship between the manager and his team evolves in the same way to make room for leaders who are at the service of the collective expression of the team’s interconnected talents. The leader detaches from the manager’s overhang and supports the collective to provide the vision, the strong connection with the purpose and values of the entire organization, but also the attention necessary for the best expression of each individual in the service of others.

Me and my organization

How many employees go home at night wondering what impact they had on the organization and, by extension, its ecosystem? The larger the group, the more frustrating the answer seems to be. This is driving the new generation to turn away from large corporations and opt for start-ups or fast-growing non-profits. In these contexts, no one questions the value of their contribution. Everyone gets up in the morning because everyone is accountable to their colleagues, not “just” a manager anymore. Any absence penalizes the team and jeopardizes the collective project, which is focused on the enterprise’s key results and strategic objectives. KPIs – Key Performance Indicators – are no longer considered as such or for the sole purpose of achieving financial results, but are used to evaluate progress in achieving the organization’s purpose.

My organization and the world

“The enterprise of the 21st century will be political or it will no longer be” declared Pascal Demurger on the occasion of the publication of his latest book. The unprecedented emergence of the financial power of economic actors on a global scale and their ability to change reality are turning companies, as well as associations and foundations, into political forces capable of improving society and the environment.

This private link to public power seems indispensable today, given the challenges and fractures in our societies.

The work that Europe has done to develop extra-financial evaluation criteria and give them a status equivalent to traditional criteria should make it possible to combat “green whasing” – or abusive communication on social and environmental responsibility – but also, and above all, to design a more humane and sustainable alternative for the entire world economy.