"Cosmic Inflation" by Don Dixon
Best I know, no one awards a prize for breakthroughs in organizational thinking, never mind practice. I can't even remember an author receiving one of the literary crowns (authors don't receive money, remember, the largest bag of bucks being the Nobel for literature -- $1.1M-ish awarded to a mere 100 or so folks in all of the world's existence) to any book about business ideas. Wait. I'm a little uninformed and thinking way too narrowly. A serious foray into search reveals this award from Financial Times and Goldman Sachs, which appears to have been cashing out to business book authors (about $50K, not bad) since 2005.
But a quick skim of awardees indicates their works are predictably, given the grantors, about Wall Street, where of course the way the companies and people they write about are organized is not the point. What they're organized for, obviously, makes quite a good story (follow the money)... which suggests this question: Who's going to get the big advance for the book on what these companies' organizational structures might have to do with why they succeed and fail? Ah-hem.
Why is this on my mind? My personal newswire for interesting stuff around organizations, Tom Stewart, whose feed on Facebook often catches my attention, does so again. Today he posts about the new no-strings (so to speak)-attached-prize in physics -- a cool $3M, awarded to each of nine (9!) physicists working on cosmic "inflation," which arguably could also be given to someone on Wall Street. The awarder is one Yuri Milner, a physicist-turned-social-media entrepreneur (he's no dope). Need I tell you that part of his $12B fortune comes from his early investment in Facebook, where, naturally, I saw Tom's post about this prize?
Here's, in part, how Nature reports it (though they missed the string-theory twist):
“The intention was to say that science is as important as shares trading on Wall Street,” Milner told Nature. The prize money comes with no strings attached, although Milner hopes that the theorists will contribute to a new lecture series for the public. Milner also plans to create an annual $100,000 New Horizons prize for young researchers and an ad hoc version of the Fundamental Physics Prize that can be won at any time “in exceptional cases”, the website says. According to the rules of the prizes, anyone can be nominated, and future prizewinners will be selected by a committee of all previous ones.
So here's my message to the next Sloan/Insead/Said grad in management who figured out how to make something of him/herself. Start a prize for "quantum organizational breakthroughs." Even call it that and it will sound scientific so people will think it's important. There's a lot of it going around these days.