Thursday, July 14, 2011

W.L. Gore Case Study

Article at Management Exchange

It’s hard to talk about management innovation without tipping your hat to W.L. Gore, the venerable maker of Gore-Tex and a host of other pioneering materials and products as diverse as synthetic vascular grafts, Elixir guitar strings, and Glide dental floss. Lauded as "the world's most innovative company" time and time again, Gore's wholly original (and endlessly inspirational) model for creating a true democracy of innovation is firmly rooted in the story of founder Bill Gore.

Bill Gore conceived of W.L. Gore as a kind of experiment in management innovation—one that is still ongoing. The questions that drove him at founding are crucial questions managers everywhere must grapple with today: Was it possible to build a company with no hierarchy—where everyone was free to talk with everyone else? How about a company where there were no bosses, no supervisors, no managers and no vice presidents?  Could W. L. Gore preserve a sense of family and collegiality even as it scaled?  Could you create a company with no “core” business, one that was as focused on creating the future as on preserving the past? The answers to each of these questions was an emphatic "Yes!"

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