Hearing-Aid Maker Oticon Removed All Office Boundaries And Has Flourished By Learning Which Ones It Needs

This article is really the story of Oticon, a Danish hearing aid manufacturer whose CEO swept away middle managers, hierarchies and fixed assignments in a drive to create a “free marketplace of ideas.”  Employees were free to concentrate on any project and join any team.    After a move into a new headquarters, no employee had a permanent office or desk, only filing cabinets on wheels that they could push from project to project.  Over time the CEO left and total freedom to choose projects evolved to allow management direction.  Creativity remained after a balance was struck between creative freedom and leadership guidance.  Since 2002 sales have grown nearly 40% while profits rose nearly 60%.

Source: Jack Ewing, Business Week; Aug 20, 2007

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