Inventing the Organizations of the 21st Century

Interesting Organizations

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Overview of the Interesting Organizations Database


The purpose of the Interesting Organizations database is to identify and catalog early examples of companies using innovative organizational approaches or advanced technologies. Understanding those companies whose practices may seem unusual today but which have the potential to be commonplace in the future will be an important foundation for inventing organizations of the 21st Century. 


The database name, "Interesting Organizations" denotes the broad nature of its contents: it includes examples of many dimensions of interesting. For example, organizations may be interesting because of their: 

  • Organizational structure or approach to organizing work (for example, "virtual companies," companies with a unique collaboration with suppliers or customers, etc.)
  • Strategic approach (globalization, alliances, use of information technology, etc.)
  • Remarkable success (in agility, productivity, new product development, etc.)
  • Innovative approach to a common function (marketing, finance, human resources, etc.)
  • Area of application (electronic markets, advanced technologies, etc.)
All database entries include the following information: a description of why the organization is interesting and brief descriptions of the organization's business profile, background, and contact/source for further information.


The database will form a research base from which MIT faculty will examine selected companies in more depth and conceptualize unexpected possibilities for future organizations. Combining organizational examples with insights from economics, organizational theory, management science and other disciplines, MIT faculty will develop new theories about the nature of work. The database will also be a link to student internships and field studies. 

Besides providing this research foundation, the ideas contained in the database may be of direct use to industry partners. For example, entries in the database identify emerging developments in information technology, strategic initiatives and company practices that could be implemented now.

The database will also be used in creating a series of scenarios of possible future organizations. A crucial step will be to build on the knowledge and insights gathered to formulate a series of practical scenarios. The purpose of this novel approach is to break the bonds of preconception to create, explore and evaluate alternative futures and how to get there.


The information in the database can be accessed in multiple ways. The "Name" view presents an alphabetical listing of the organizations in the database. The "Industry" view arranges the entries by industry classification. The "Keyword" view displays the organizations according to the keyword dimensions they exemplify. To see the full list of keywords, their definitions, and an explanation of their categories, click on the Master List of the "Keyword Definitions" view.


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