We are in the early stages of an increase in human freedom in business that may in the long run be as important a change for business as the change to democracy was for governments. New technologies are making it possible for the first time in human history to have the economic benefits of very large organizations and, at the same time, to have the human benefits of very small organizations, things like freedom, flexibility, motivation and creativity. Information technology is reducing the costs of communication to such a low level that it's now possible for huge numbers of people even in very large organizations to have all the information they need about the big picture to make their own decisions for themselves about what they do rather than waiting for people above them in some hierarchy to tell them what to do.
Thomas W. Malone is the Patrick J. McGovern Professor
of Management. He is also the founder and director of the MIT Center for Coordination Science and was one
of the two founding co-directors of the MIT Initiative on "Inventing the Organizations
of the 21st Century". Professor Malone teaches classes on leadership
and information technology, and his research focuses on how new organizations
can be designed to take advantage of the possibilities provided by information
This keynote presentation and others were recorded at Supernova 2004.