International examples of “open” organizations and leaders needed

I’m wrapping up work on my next book “Open” and am in need of a few examples of organizations and leaders outside of North America.

In particular, I’m looking for examples of organizations that have put in place more open information sharing or decisions making processes or technologies, and as a result, have seen substantial business impact. In particular, I’m interested in learning how they went through the journey of letting go of control, and in the process, transformed the relationship they have with customers and/or employees.

Here are a few examples:

- Employees using social media tools inside the organization helps spreads mission critical information throughout the organization, so that decision making happens faster, with better results.

- Customers are invited into innovation and decision making sessions to help the company develop or improve products and processes.

- Basic operations such as marketing, sales, and customer service are becoming more open and public, using communication and social technologies like discussion forums, blogs, Facebook, Twitter to engage with customers. The key: that this is opening to customers is leading to a transformation internally as well.

- People who you believe exemplify what it means to be an “open leader” – someone who is leads with transparency and authenticity.

I’m also interested in learning if “being open” differs substantially in different countries, or if there are some universal tendencies in the way people organize and work. There will always be different cultural differences, but I find just as  many different company cultures and degrees of openness in just the US alone!

And of course, if you know of any interesting examples from North America, please let me know as well!

My deadline is fast approaching, so please leave suggestions in comments or email me at charlene (at) altimetergroup (dot) com. Thanks!


  1. Do you have a questionnaire – this will help in keeping answers focused.

  2. Warren Buffett

  3. Charlene,
    FAVI, a French dye-cast manufacturer, is one of the rare examples of real “open” leadership and end-to-end processes. You should have a look here: under “management” menu tab. The manifesto is still in French, alas, but is more than worth the translation burden.

  4. Charlene,

    We’ve undergone a massive transition from a closed to open philosophy of management, product development and marketing during the past 12 months. While our headquarters are in North America our company has a presence in over 30 countries around the world and customers in 60. In addition to functional organizational changes to support operating as an open company we have established and grown a multi-channel hub & spoke social engagement model. It includes very active participation from our management team. We would be happy to speak with you in more detail.

    Jascha Kaykas-Wolff @Kaykas
    VP, Marketing

  5. Rich Armstrong says:

    Will you be covering the practice of Open-Book Management in your new book?

    • Charlene Li says:

      rich, yes, I’ll definitely be discussing open book management. It’s a classic, hard to believe the book has been out there for 15 years already.

  6. Hi Charlene. Semco SA, a Brazilian company, is the best international example of an open organization I’ve read about. In the US, the opening up of P&G’s R&D processes fits the bill as well.

  7. I am excited to see you are working on this book. I am an Organizational Development leader in a large healthcare organization that is closing versus opening to social media. I am very concerned this limits our ability to leverage talent and increase innovation while also driving away young, high potentials.