Insights & Opinions: CERN's Collaborative Management Model

For our insights and opinion section today, Krisztina Holly, vice-provost for innovation and executive director of the USC Stevens Institute for Innovation, talks about the leadership model at CERN, and discusses how that can be applied to business.

As a business leader, imagine trying to manage more than 7,000 scientists from 85 countries around the world—with their own languages, cultures, and expertise—on a 20-year collaboration to create the most complex system ever built.

Now imagine the goal is to recreate the conditions a billionth of a second after the Big Bang. And none of the experts on your team will get personal credit for changing our fundamental understanding of the universe. And oh, by the way, you don't have control of anyone's paycheck.

It might seem like an impossible management situation. But that is exactly what is going on at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland.