Sparking a revolution…or why a gaming company is trying to change the world of work

Gamevy makes games (just in case the name was confusing you). We’re a small start up in London’s tech city and that makes us fairly busy – building, releasing, changing, killing, restarting. Occasionally we try to see our children and partners and go on bike rides. ?The usual stuff you’d expect!

What we don’t have time to do is organise a massive conference trying to change the world of work. Yet somehow – that’s exactly what we’ve found ourselves doing.

True, we work in a different way. We’re employee-owned for a start. We don’t have any managers. We make certain key decisions democratically – other decisions don’t require anyone’s input at all other than the person making them. We welcome dissent. We practise radical transparency and free access to resources like information and company money….

But we do all this because we think it will help us succeed, not because we’re on some kind of mission to change the world.

Hmmm. Bother. We do appear to be on some kind of mission

I blame it on an especially lengthy debate we had on twitter where half the people were asking for more information and the other half were saying, ‘you bunch of hippies?—?it’ll never work!’.

To prove our point that radical management ideas did work, we started contacting all the companies who had implemented them?—?often at scale. Then we spoke to the best academics writing about why these ideas work and broader management theories. In doing this, we also met many individuals and consultancies who were helping others introduce radical ideas, overcome obstacles and skill up for change. Finally, we contacted all the people who’d wanted to know more.

Oh … we appeared to have set up a conference.

Spark the Change

Spark the Change will run 3-4 July in London. It exists to showcase examples of pioneers in the work revolution, to inspire and energise individuals and to develop the practical skills that mean we can start the change in our own organisations.

http://www.sparkthechange.co.uk

Who’s speaking at Spark?

We were worried that it might be hard to find people prepared to take a chance on a new conference. Ha! The support and response from today’s leading thinkers, writers and leaders has been overwhelming!

There are people who have been making changes to IT with Agile and Lean and know real success requires broader changes to the organisation as a whole. There are leaders in HR, employee engagement, strategy and company transformations who know that culture is crucial to lasting success. Academics from Britain’s leading business schools will be present along with associations and groups representing democratic decision-making and employee-ownership. And of course, there are leading companies who have been pioneering many of the ideas we’ll be discussing.

We’re especially pleased by how many women have responded to our call for speakers??put out by Ada’s List??giving a more balanced representation than is usually found at conferences.

Highlights?

If you’re looking for inspiration, there are talks from Jurgen Appelo author of Management 3.0, Tim Harford author of The Undercover Economist, Dr Paul Thomas also known as BBC1’s Business Doctor, Brie Rogers Lowery of change.org, Jenni Lloyd of Nixon McInnes and Miranda Ash from WorldBlu…

Want to see how it works in practice? Consider the experiences of Red Gate Software, Unilever, PropellerNet and Happy Ltd. There will be case studies presented by these and many other companies who are managing without managers, transforming the business, signing up to holacracy, restructuring, removing bonuses, innovating at speed, handing ownership to employees…

And if you’re worried that while this might all sound great, how on earth are YOU going to make the change happen?—?well, that’s where Spark really stands out. We have an incredible 15 workshops delivering really practical skill development, innovation games or planning. There are also experts on hand to give advice and answer questions about your specific challenges or ideas.

Finally?—?and this is just so darn cool?—?never mind if you’re not based in the UK, you can also attend Spark on a robot! There will be a BeamPro at the conference for people to drive around from your home or office.

The goal is that every participant should return to the office on Monday morning ready, energised and confident about how to spark the change.

Want to join the revolution?

Most people we’ve spoken to understand all too well the frustrations of a business that is not managing to respond to changes, that seems to block rather than liberating its employees and where short term decisions prove disastrous in the long term…

If you have suffered from this and want to become a better leader of a stronger business, then join us at Spark.

Not that we’re on a mission or anything.

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