Michael Arena – Adaptive Space: How GM and Other Companies are Positively Disrupting Themselves and Transforming into Agile Organizations

March 2, 2023
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Author's Biography

Michael Arena is the chief science officer and co-founder of the Connected Commons, a research consortium that brings together business and academic thought leaders to develop and apply organizational network solutions. He is also a faculty member in Penn’s Masters in Organizational Dynamics program. Arena most recently served as the vice president of talent and development at Amazon Web Services (AWS), where he leveraged network analysis to enable employee growth, organizational culture and innovation. He was nominated to the Thinkers50 Radar class of 2020 for his work on network roles in creating adaptive organizations.

Prior to joining Amazon, Arena was the Chief Talent Officer for General Motors Corporation where he was responsible for enterprise talent management, cultural transformation, leadership development, talent acquisition and people analytics. While at GM he launched GM2020, a grass roots initiative designed to enable employees to positively disrupt the way they work, which was highlighted in Fast Company and Fortune Magazine. This initiative and others are highlighted in his best-selling book, Adaptive Space: How GM and Other Companies are Positively Disrupting Themselves and Transforming into Agile Organizations.

His research on adaptation and networks won the 2017 Walker Prize from People + Strategy and has been cited in the Wall Street Journal, Inc. Magazine, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Harvard Business Review, and Sloan Management Review. Prior to GM, Arena spent two years as a visiting scientist with MIT’s Media Lab researching human networks. He also spent 3 years as a design thinking coach within the Stanford dSchool and served as Senior Vice President of Leadership Development at Bank of America, where he co-designed and launched the Center for Future Banking, to positively disrupt consumer banking.

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Michael Arena – Adaptive Space: How GM and Other Companies are Positively Disrupting Themselves and Transforming into Agile Organizations