From the monthly archives: January 2011

Creativity and the Humanities

“How can organizations redesign their work environments to stimulate ideas, foster innovation and harness the creative potential of their workforce?”

This was the challenge launched at WEF and had as key points for discussion:

-Foosball tables and employees on Segways are evidence of creativity in an organization, but not conclusive proof of it, and not a sure-fire path to creativity. 

-Trust in the workplace is a necessary condition for creativity.

-Permission for creativity in the workplace comes from the top, and can be signaled in many ways (such as inclusiveness, diversity and openness).

– The workplace exists not only in physical space, but also in virtual space.

If we visit a few known companies (not to be confused with recognized) as having creative environments or leafing through some magazines we easily find pictures where they plays foosball, billiards or ping pong game. But it is true that this does not mean that there is an environment of creativity or innovation.

To innovate is essential that there should be an environment of trust and responsibility where the various activities unfold smoothly, conflicts or fear.

Trust and risk are closely linked with fear.

Often this image of “difference”, that contains fun and “freedom to” blocks on permission to innovate. Tim Brown focuses on this subject very well: “Permission to innovate.”

This means that the reconciliation of several key points for the development of creativity and innovation is not easy especially when we talk about diversity of personality, culture, knowledge structure or even gender.

How many times, the lack of permission is sustained in the absence of integration of difference?

Ralph-Ohr (@ralph_oh) shared an article via twitter, which deals with the theme,  “Fostering diversity in the workplace” and that helps us to reflect on the reconciliation of permission to innovate in an environment of diversity.

In this article we read: “Swann noted that diversity in fact promotes innovation, but only if this diversity has been embraced by the team.”

I think this diversity when it is embraced by the group is already a result of a series of events in the Organization and who have demonstrated by the development of a culture that embraces diversity, but where diversity is seen as a broad concept and not just a matter of knowledge disciplines or gender equality issues.

The traditional way to integrate a difference in organizations is sustainable?

Seek to develop a culture that embraces cultures is the desirable path, because this causes people to feel desired and understood thus helping to promote creativity.

“When you get an intersection of fields, disciplines or cultures, you can combine existing concepts in an extraordinary number of new ideas.” – Frans Johansson

Different people with different backgrounds and profiles leverage the ability to face challenges and embrace opportunities, because different motivations and ways to look and see are present.

That is why it is important to remember Dov Seidman:

“The prevailing approach to innovation, which countries and businesses need now more than ever, neglects a rich vein of untapped potential. We are focusing almost exclusively on the innovations themselves—the outcome of the creative process—while neglecting the human element in the equation. What would happen if rather than focusing on only one variable (the outcome) in the innovation equation, we addressed the human variable that we have always kept constant?”

Does the diversity have more disadvantages than advantages 

Is it so difficult that doesn’t deserve the bet?

Being different can be converge to drive?

What do you think?

 

Design thinking – change

 

If we take a big bowl nearly full whose weight in water hinders our transport we can see that if we take it back and forth we invite the water to dance.

If we launch a feather of a bird in the air when it blows a breeze, we invite it to dance.

 If the rhythm of music awakens within us some souvenirs, we want to invite someone to dance.

 

And what if our ideas invite us to a dance?

The answer is in the harmony that will drive action through three constraints:

Technological risk, business risk and risk of adoption!

Can we make it?

Will It Work?

Is it possible?

Here’s an invitation to dance!

Did you like it? Don’t forget:

“Innovation needs to happen at the intersection of desirability, viability, and feasibility.  These three elements make up the legs of a proverbial stool called “it’ll work in the world.”  Too many innovation initiatives focus on only one or two, much to their detriment.  For example, creating something without regard for its feasibility out in the world is not unlike designing a bridge without regard to the existence of gravity: it might work, but the likelihood of it being a reliable, safe, means of transport will be greatly diminished.  And while it might be tempting to “really be creative” by ignoring constraints, a wiser approach is to view constraints as liberating.”

Diego Rodriguez

What do you think about this?

 

It is not easy! Design Thinking (DT)

Facilitate is no easy task, especially when we believe in knowledge transfer, adaptation to new behaviors or unleash the potential that exists in an organization’s employees.

The facilitator is someone who helps a group of people to understand their common goals and helps them to plan for reaching these objectives without taking a particular position in the discussion. The role of an effective facilitator is closely linked with the environment (context) which will unwind. This observation is important because the culture of your organization or region where the activity takes place may make a difference at the facilitation work.

The powers of a facilitator assume the true meaning of the expression: “competence = result”.

So, imagine a human resources manager concerned to facilitate the release of the potential of the employees of an enterprise while enforcing a set of standards.

 

What is the role of HR in an environment of constraints?

The first thing an HR Manager must seek to do is distinguish content from processes and be able to encourage participation and creativity throughout his organization.

In the facilitation activity nothing is deliver to chance, the time and space are worked intentionally, so there is an adaptation to people’s evolution, although this may cause events an expenditure of energy constant HR Manager.

To facilitate means to be objective and make it easier to work in the organization and not take complexities to highlight some skills.

What does empathy means for an HR Manager?

The facilitator does not say! The HR Manager uses panoply of questions according to circumstances, to highlight the potential of every employee in his organization.

The facilitator says, but to compliment or reciprocate compliments that are directed or to highlight the constraints or standards of the organization. Basically a HR Manager is a person “well educated”, which is able to connect and establish collaborative relationships.

Will the HR Manager has a holistic view of his organization?

We know that inside any organization there are seeds of discord and conflict. There are times when it is necessary to resolve the conflicts of personality and others where it is necessary to facilitate the cognitive or creative conflicts. At these times the HR Manager must be able, on the one hand, to listen actively promoting the negotiation and not manifesting directive intentions in decision-making and on the other hand he or she should be able to promote intuition that results of experiences. Groups are a good source for obtaining intuitive answers.

Is the HR team an example of collaboration?

While holding constant the close-up of its objectives, a facilitator promotes work on nuclear issues, allowing collaboration between people to be real and active. He advises and does not use the authority as if the Group were a military squad.

What if there is no authorization to experiment?

The HR Manager should foster observation, and be able to leverage curiosity and encourage experimentation to achieve results quickly. The best solution isn’t always the “perfect” solution

Facilitate is a job that requires a good relationship with the members of the Organization, which liberates creativity and makes effective knowledge transfer.

What else should we say?

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Passion is not a fruit of chance

 

Creativity is like a bird  newborn, requiring an incubation period. People need time to peek into a problem, and let the ideas to shine.

When we are motivated to carry out certain tasks and if this is our daily lives, it is very likely that after spending a day satisfied and happy, the next day is similar to a forest of ideas.

If we are part of a team, a “hot” team, creativity flows with greatest happiness when we share ideas and the debate becomes emotional, without conflicts of personality. But when people come into competition for the recognition, they do not share information and the fluidity of creativity is very low. The forest is a small nest to house all the creation.

In the organizations creativity is strongly influenced by fluctuations of the business, however, small and medium-sized companies often surpass that adversity with creativity. These times bolder birds learn to conquer their space and leave the nest.

The structure of creativity is built with the knowledge, experience, talent, proactive attitudes and the ability to explore the hidden side of things. So to become robust and capable the wings it is necessary intrinsic motivation, i.e. the energy generated by responsibility and love for work. The first flight requires courage, others come from persistence. 

Creativity depends on many things, such as: experience, including knowledge and technical skills, talent, an ability to think in new ways, and to come up with unknown direction. In recent years, organizations have given more attention to creativity and innovation than at any other time. It seems that the forest is in transformation.

However there it is still need to do some cleanup in this forest. For example, the financial rewards for creative performance are not a good bet. Since people have adequate remuneration, i.e. corresponding to normal performance, it is by creating conditions to intrinsic motivation, with responsibility, autonomy and respect that creativity flourishes.

 

When down is gone, feathers and wings are ready to fly.

Howard Gardner says: “Every person has a number of areas where he or she has a special interest” … “Could be his way of teaching a lesson or sell something. After awhile, they manage to be as good as any other. “

There are others for whom simply being good at something, is not enough, they feel need to be creative. In these cases the best, to facilitate creativity and leverage motivation is to improve small challenges to ourselves.

Most entrepreneurs have bags filled with ideas and with some luck, come into competition on the market. However, frequently, or by the convenience that success brings, or because they do not know the concept of sustainability, many entrepreneurs take on the mechanical role of manage things that have already taken place.

When this happens, a good idea is quickly converted into a never-ending list of reasons for which it will never work.

If the employer responds with a list of reasons why the idea will fail, then it is better to forget the idea. Ideas need to be nurtured, even if adopted, and require a good deal of attention and respect. Sometimes the ideas are like some birds that fail the first flight. They require constant dedication and refinement; they are the future with whom we shall live! This is passion and this passion is the common denominator of success entrepreneurs!

“I want my children to understand the world, but not just because the world is fascinating and the human mind is curious. I want them to understand it so that they will be positioned to make it a better place. Knowledge is not the same as morality, but we need to understand if we are to avoid past mistakes and move in productive directions. An important part of that understanding is knowing who we are and what we can do… Ultimately, we must synthesize our understandings for ourselves. The performance of understanding that try matters are the ones we carry out as human beings in an imperfect world which we can affect for good or for ill. – Howard Gardner

 

Still feels that passion? Then what?

 

 

Downloading feelings

This week I read a tweet from @ guidostompff, whom I thank for the push to think, and I read as follows:

Is it possible at all, to design ’emotions’ or ‘meaning’? It underlies a wide array of design theory.”

Although I feel a huge desire to say that Yes, I don’t know the answer and so I’ll try to ask a few questions, expecting some collaboration! Possibly this answer will come later and we will be only with one feeling.  

But it should not be our purpose, deliver emotions and meaning?

Richard Seymour “defined” design as being the “make things better for people”, which is focused on human behavior and quality of life.

Design could be seen as an activity that conveys an idea into something useful, whether it’s a car, a building, a chart, a service or a process.

“Scientists can invent technologies, manufacturers can make products, engineers can make them function and marketers can sell them, but only designers can combine insight into all these things and turn a concept into something that’s desirable, viable, commercially successful and adds value to people’s lives.”- Design Council

If the designers or people that think like designers are able to perform this combination, they do it incorporating not only the knowledge about things but mainly by incorporating and transferring to the result emotions and meanings that the various interdisciplinary elements share.

When we observe people in their daily lives, we will notice that these people know a lot about emotion. For example when they are given photographs with emotional expressions or when witnessing the expressions in a natural environment, easily recognize the significance of these emotions or their representation.

For example, the expression “is awesome” or “is fabulous” can be heard when the result of the work is presented.

Does the emotion lived these moments was the emotion designed?

Was it transferred intentionally? Does that represent the existence of meaning in the work?

“Awesome” is a kind of basis for a multitude of recipes, but that gives all of them taste and authenticity as well as an unmistakable aroma to success. It is the fruit of a handful of design, or the ability to create something that has meaning and usefulness, because the utility is a privileged destination of creation.

When we appreciates the work in its entirety in order to establish new relationships, when using the metaphor as a way of thinking and we get the whole greater than the sum of the parts, we are building emotions and meanings. Interdisciplinary teams are good in achieving these goals.

When we reading emotions, capacity made possible by empathy, we know where those who are the recipients of our work will go.

Empathy is to know to be in the others place and this promotes improvements in any environment, making what we do into something better.

All this has meaning and is innovation!

Innovate means completely rethinking the way in achieving, and in some cases this may mean redefining the goal we pursue, passing many times from our emotions to the emotions of others.

To innovate means adapting the environment to new demands and needs of the newest and oldest. As also means coming up with a new idea capable of creating a better world and allow to create better children in a world in transformation.

Does it have meaning?

To innovate means creating positive learning environments by applying the future to a new context.

As we are progressing in our journey of life, we are thinking of leaving something, as a testimony of our presence, which can serve to tell later.

Then we are telling a story of emotion and meaning!

Telling a story is important either for assigning meanings to things we want to build links and report on the steps of creative journeys.

Is it possible design the “well-being”? Has “being well” a meaning?

Is it worth think about it?

 

People around ideas!

Apart from issues of neuroscience and who controls them, if today is the limbic system or if tomorrow is it with the help of other systems emotions in business are always seen two angles: the producer/seller and the consumer pays.

In an interview to “Ideaconnection”, Tom kelly, author of “the Art of Innovation” talks a bit about the role of emotions in the process of innovation:

“VB: You say, “As you observe people in their natural settings, you should not only look for the nuances of human behavior but also strive to infer motivation and emotion.” Would you talk about the role of emotion in the innovation process?

Tom Kelley: A part of making innovation work is understanding and getting under the skin of customers in order to address their issues. Life is not about what they used to call “just the facts, ma’am.”

If you focus only on the specifications of a product or a service, you can leave out a lot. In fact, a big part of an Anthropologist’s discoveries is the departure between what people should do, or even what people say they do, and what they actually do. Even if what they actually do is irrational, you still have to respond to it.

If you leave out the emotional content, you may have the best specifications in the world but people may not buy your product or service.

Does the Apple IPod have better specs, or better data storage per dollar spent than other MP3 players? I don’t think so, but it speaks to emotion. At IDEO we try to remember the emotional component in all of our work.”

What should people do?

The nature of emotions is not only put into discussion in producer/consumer relationship but also among the team or teams that gravitate around the idea …

Do you want to comment?

Trends: pessimism and optimism

 

Our opinions are the result of years to pay attention to information that confirms what we believe, ignoring information that challenge our preconceived notions.

We are, some more than others, fruit of an education and learning based on choices between Yes and No and therefore we bowed to some traps in decision when there is risk and reward.

Our brain deceives us with what guard. He feels attracted over long distances when they mean big rewards.

Decision makers in companies should be aware of the importance of some psychological tendencies that they face, when is time to decide. 

Today Arie Goldshlager (on twitter @ ariegoldshlager) has shared an article “How Potential Breakthrough Offerings get Killed Off”, where you can read:

“Two implications. First, be sure to make assumptions and judgments with some depth of analysis. Beware of snap decisions based on instinct or superficial metaphors. Second, be willing to accept some risk. The future is also hard to forecast. But the upside of the creation of a new category or subcategory can be strategically important and can justify the acceptance of risk. It can provide a business platform for the future and a profit flow that can support strategic growth. A firm needs to take care that a bias toward doom and gloom does not too quickly result in the wrong decision”.

The examples that are presented in this article are relevant and well chosen to justify these two implications. I am not saying that this is a confirmation bias.

We know that today, fear and pessimism are not legal. We live in an age that happiness is the more we want, and nobody admire people who are afraid. It’s easy to ridicule anyone who points to the dangers ahead and sort them as pessimistic.

People over the centuries developed a biological capacity of fear, because helped them survive, which allowed them to pass their genes to future generations. This helps keep us resistant to change and on alert for many dangers we face.

While this ability to be alert is good, on the other hand it doesn’t allow, frequently, giving great steps.

Our innate ability to be scared faces another strong human characteristic that is also the trend towards the optimism.

It exists in us a bias towards hope when it comes to potential threats on our environment. However most of us underestimate the difficulties we face, as well as overestimate our ability to respond to these difficulties.

Some results of questionnaires conducted with students on the eve of integration into the world of work show that 70% of respondents feel more able than others to lead innovation teams. Is clearly an excess of optimism.

Leaders of innovation may be subject to these deviations and need to rely on the risks and obstacles that will face to lead a project. Many of them do so rationally do not leave the starting point, however the self-confidence makes putting and, in case of failure, they justified over time or with external factors.

For the most part the victories of the optimism resulting in a speculative bubble and the victories of pessimism result in heavy losses of opportunity.

It is in the balance between the various forces that lays the path to success:

Intuition isn’t more than a response fruit of experience but in which decisions are not easy to explain.

Impulsiveness is an absolute necessity to get immediate answers or results and that needs to be very well managed.

Cognitive bias must be seen as realities and need care in its use.

Cognitive shortcuts require a delicate balance of self-awareness.

Do you want to comment?

 

Unleash the potential

When we think about maximizing the potential of each one of us in organizations, instead of seeking, that each one is engaged in organization according to its functions, we must find that everyone develop the different potentials we possess.

 

We need to recognize our most salient aspects and more value and develop those more hidden or submerged.

When thinking about our capabilities and monetization in our Organization, often find that we are able to perform a set of actions with good results, but for some reason this demonstration of ability is not possible.

Over the days, months and years we get the feeling (nasty) that many of our ideas were great solutions and were wasted because the environment or the moment were not appropriate.

And like us, many other collaborators ceased to express their ideas or were unable to demonstrate their capabilities. All this because we were hired to perform tasks properly described on any certification process and to do so without errors.

We were recognized by our ability to not raise our eyes and complete absorption in achieving the greatest possible number of tasks we stood up and impeccable. We become satisfied with the possibility to rise at a predetermined career.

It is true that the replay of process makes easy to manage the product inside of their useful life, i.e. while satisfying some kind of need, whether it is meaningful or not. But we must go further and work with purpose and meaning 

We need to innovate and change our attitude to work. We must recognize a purpose in everyday life.

Innovation is also the pursuit of reconciliation of the needs of those who produce and those who consume it. Who produces, i.e. all employees of a company without exception, needs to identify with their work and unleash the creative energy that has inside theirself. Who consumes or uses needs to solve problems or create wellness for you and your back.

Innovation is also assigning meaning to a life of work be it short or long duration, meaning that that will embedded in the result from work.

The feeling that the energy spent will be part of someone else’s life is comforting. The feeling of who uses or consumes is shared when work is praised and become visible.

 nnovation is also opening organizations to the appreciation of the work performed as a way to extend the capabilities of the collaborators to ecosystems where products and services are delivered. There is a bit of nodes in each final recipient.

For that innovation can be seen in this light, there are three factors that I feel are critical to the success of this approach:

1 – Openness to sharing in the form of  tacit knowledge transfer from the most talented individuals and the recognition of competences submerged.

2 – The need for regular exercise of certain powers, as a way of refining and disposal environmental toxins or cultural. Regular exercise helps to raise awareness of the factors beneficial and stressors factors.

3 – The need to provoke the immersion of the collaborators on challenges as an alternative to absence of initiative or curiosity.

The great benefits of organizations, when they open the doors to the employees potential, integrating it in aligning their strategy or making it their strategy, are a high social climate that increases customer satisfaction and productivity in creative terms and of quality and ensures the reconciliation of work and family life.

Can attitudes be innovated?

Or is it necessary that the leadership prescribes change?

Have you a thought on this? So tell me!

It was raining like cats and dogs, that day!

 

Sitting quietly on the couch listening to the news while trying out my new phone and suddenly arises the image provocative unquiet notice

“…motorway accident causes death and 3 injured in serious state 1 “.

By luck or lack of it I haven’t had my phone capable of linking someone to break the news. It would be a vent if he had done!

And because I knew that the next day I would pass on that place, I tried to relax and do math. Not to life, but the numbers of accidents, deaths and injuries that however the announcer had accountably.

– It was more one than last year in the same period!

Well all in all, I thought, “good! Cancer was x + 1, influenza

Y + 1, plane crash was z-1, etc.”

Evil, at least, the risk exists and I have to assume. Will it be?

I am able to drive with attention, without speeding and the car is in perfect conditions for the voyage. Given these assumptions just got to admit that the risk exists but this is no impediment to invest on the trip. I cannot guarantee that nothing will succeed, but it is expected that.

-“I will travel!”

Our rational capacity to admit and weigh risk puts us often, especially in business, in positions of weakness vis-à-vis the market and competition.

What leads us to face fearful situations that we know entail low risk compared to other much larger risk?

The use of “if” put the decision-making on issues that are relevant and crucial, if drag indefinitely, often to the ineffectiveness of the decision, when those “IFS” are seen in a negative Outlook.

If on the contrary I often ask “what if …?” but to find new solutions that use is welcome and brings new opportunities and new business.

The attitude of “If” determines our defeat early or promises or success.

The story of an accident told on TV, deceives our thought, because it comes loaded with emotion, but cheats for a little while. An accident journal with those numbers has no impact like a plane crash with 150 passengers!

But numbers are numbers and we know that less people die per year of aviation accident than by car.

All this because we actually think people quickly, associative, loaded with emotion taking the habit as leader.

At these times it is important to remember the emotional intelligence and tell the story of Mr. Risk and his adventures with emotion.

When two people go hand in hand, they watch from a distance they are from one another, not to walk bumping! 

Rationality and emotion also must learn to walk side by side, and sometimes now runs a, now directs to another. Example “accounts payable” or “successes to celebrate.”

Acceptance of risk in companies cannot be governed solely by logic; data cannot be conducted as a daydream of late afternoon. A balance is important! Matter how intuition, experience, and emotion, so that the risk is seen not as a threat but as an opportunity!

Could we replace the fear to fail by the pleasure of a purpose?

 

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Business and design thinking

 

Design thinking is not an exclusive of designers it can be of any staff. Eventually it belongs to the designers when they assume that shape and when trying to converge towards people.

Design thinking makes sense when we talk about adding value to a product or service and this value is perceived by the user or consumer.

In organizations whether for-profit or not there is a balanced combination of powers which when implemented will cause a flow of value creation that will benefit everyone – Upstream the Organization, within the Organization and down-stream the organization.

When we talk about design thinking in businesses we see that there is a need for learning from both sides’ designers and business. Hence the concern existing schools, to the development of competencies, detected as weak or very weak. These competencies refer to skills of interaction in interdisciplinary teams and with consumers or business people. 

Some skills suggested by respondents:

 

According to Roger Martin, “the design competences and skills of business tend to converge.” To be successful in the future, business people must be more like designers, need to improve their ability to vision of the whole.

As people of decisions, managers and business leaders must leave their focus on efficiency and focus on the consumer, in the background people.

Although Verganti say that should be no longer focus on people and one should seek to create an elite that address global issues, the concept of focusing on people, for me, is understood as not only think of the needs expressed by conduct with empathy, but also identify the hidden or not felt needs.

The for-profit and non-profit have different perspectives about the role of design thinking, i.e. at least react differently to their presence.

But these organizations have needs that should bring to light.

Design thinking is a way to think of doing something in a dimension that represents a new learning experience for everyone, not just for schools but especially for business people.

Many of these business people fear failure, averse to unpredictability and have a great concern for the status.

Design thinking requires a different attitude that is, go beyond the case studies presented in MBAs or exchanges of good practice. Businesses cannot simply transfer a solution from one company to another.

 As Neumeier said “we can’t decide between one and another, we have to draw the path forward”.

The difference between these two ways of doing things is significant. The way to decide assumes that the alternatives already exist (case studies), but decide it will be difficult. Design view assumes new choices must be imagined (using the process design), but once imagined, decide it will be easy. The truth is the success in the 21st century. XXI depends on finding the right mix of these two modes.

If on the one hand, people eho decides in the business world must extend their skills to new possibilities, on the other hand the design thinkers will need also to come out of silos and create a new world in embarrassment of business management.

 

The image above refers to a context identified but it seems not be wrong to extrapolate those data to a wider horizon.

Seems to be easy to understand that the perception of the business world is still a mirage for many designers, but if they want to realize deep interventions in the business level will have to acquire management skills and negotiation.

Being the storytelling a fundamental tool for the design thinking is not clarified this lack of responsibility assumed in communication.

Maybe your story is different! Maybe your context is not this one!

Worth thinking!

I think there might be convergence! What do you think?