Currently viewing the category: "Innovation"

A large part of the SME Organizations is concerned with improving what they produce and the processes they use, that is, to make faster and cheaper what they have to offer.

It is a culture, imbued with processes that are often aimed at excellence in productivity, in quality, in continuous improvement process or growth strategy, but which can kill innovation.

It is a culture learned from big companies that focus on the past, and that apply and replicate things that have been proven as symbols of efficiency. These companies work with reliable things and do not open the door to what can be valid because they consider, most of the times, that it is in the trust of the brand that is their competitive advantage.

When a company works on a solution to satisfy the needs of its customers, and only seeks to reduce costs of this exploration in addition to offering small improvements and increased “novelties”, there is a risk of walking in the opposite direction of the treadmill.

If we reflect a little, we end up agreeing that both in SMEs and in startups there are active creative people because, in this type of organizations, there is a need for a lot of creativity to lead businesses to the path of success.

Perhaps it is more difficult to find creativity in large companies and in some SMEs because of organizational structure and business processes. The structure and processes make it almost impossible to be creative and meet the needs and wants of consumers / users.

For this small organizations must think about working three variables (encouraging – fail – combine) when trying to successfully try new ideas, says Vijay Govindarajan.

On the one hand, it is necessary for companies to encourage constant experimentation, but inexpensive experimentation. On the other hand, an organization that admits error is an organization that is growing and therefore learns from failures. Finally, it is good for the organization to learn how to combine failed ideas to form innovative ideas.

However, only ideas are not enough to walk the path of innovation. Innovation is the creation of value through something new and useful.

There are three reasons why people latch onto ideation. One, ideation is easy. You can go into a dark room and all kinds of great ideas will come to you. Two, ideation doesn’t cost money. You can just sit in your office and think.

Three, only during execution do you see the conflict between the old and the new. Execution is not only dull and boring, it takes a long time and it takes resources. Execution creates conflict whereas ideation doesn’t.”

It is good, therefore, that in small organizations, there is someone who can mediate these conflicts and facilitate the development of structured processes that can lead to organization from ideation, through prototyping and user / consumer feedback, to sales.

During this execution period, ywe must think about costs and losses, in speed and quality, in lean and agile.

Everything is important in these moments of execution. The quality of the research, the effectiveness of the tests and the consumer / user feedback, or the way we think the design of our path and the way we want to grow.

We can only grow if what we produce or deliver really fits into customer needs or solve a perfectly defined problem.

It is good to remember that companies must also explore the terrain around problems that do not yet have a known solution.

So… what about our path?

A more strategic approach to innovation makes it possible to:

Become aware of trends that may affect our business;

Develop a greater capacity for assimilation (gradual process of evaluation and absorption of the best innovations, whatever the source) and better ability to listen to the customer’s voice;

Better understanding of white spaces opportunities and new markets;

Better understanding of organizational strengths and weaknesses.

Alignment of employees with strategic objectives;

Development of dedicated teams and strengthening the culture of innovation in the organization.

And, finally a reflexion!

“They have taken a long-since-solved mystery—they are often, but not always, the ones who solved it many decades ago—and have spent the intervening decades refining the resultant heuristic into an algorithm. They deal in reliability—the reliable reproduction of the desired outcome again and again at the largest possible scale at the minimum cost and with the minimum…

Go and hang out in the R&D department and look at the degree to which they are really just honing and refining existing products.” In many cases, the R&D department hones and refines, sustaining an innovation, rather than building a new business”- Roger Martin

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The path to a different thought must be built!

In a world where you can buy a shirt or set a table for dinner with just a few fingers on the screen, without leaving the sofa, managing or creating a business, and not finding a path to innovation involving technology, can be an organizational nightmare.

The ways most services are delivered today involves technology and an in-depth knowledge of end-users and / or consumers.

Today it is not enough to achieve excellent levels of efficiency and quality too occupy a place in the sun in the local economy, much less if we think of internationalization. Innovation is a concept that occupies a unique place in the creation or development of business.

Innovation is undoubtedly the most relevant competitive factor of today or a crucial factor for the survival of an organization. However, it is not always sufficient to have an organizational environment that is stick to incremental innovation and/or continuous improvement.

The world of consumers and users demands not only the satisfaction of their needs, but also their wants and the trends of the environments where they are inserted. But attention, these are orders impregnated with some traps.

In the different waves of cooperation and competition that organizations seek to surf, many managers, instead of developing their own identity and therefore unique, follow the path of “copy paste”, seeking to imitate good practices without the necessary adaptation to the its geography and its culture, but mainly without attention to the culture of its clients.

We must not forget that the context is king!

We must start thinking differently, that is, we have to think in an innovative way.

Learning to observe

We must practice some observational skills and develop a mental structure to address problems. We must really observe and stop to deduce, to induce, to conclude that … without observing.

To understand our organizations, we must carefully observe our ecosystem with its various levels of performance, i.e., individual level, group and organization system. Any of these levels is filled with interactions and input and output of information that deserve our observation. We interact in diverse ways such as employees, suppliers, customers, etc.

Ask questions

If we want to think in an innovative way we need to map this interactivity to make the knowledge and behavior of the elements of an organization manageable and to ask questions is a path that leads us to the creation of value.

Asking questions is also a way to clarify our responses to a problem or challenge that is posed to us.

“Innovation is only possible when challenging the norm and questioning a brief one has been given, becomes inherent to working when trying to find the best possible answer to a problem. – Christiane Drews

Today, we no longer treat information as a set of opinions received from various authorities, each in its discipline, to make a decision because, not being allowed cognitive conflict between these entities, the expected result will not be the most desired. Today it is necessary to create space to connect the points in common and to give place to the creativity. A decision should not result from a summation, but from the combination of the various possible perspectives.

What if…

It is good to think, or at least to try to make it so, that every question we ask can be a working hypothesis, and therefore possibly the starting point for leveraging organizational innovation.

The values ​​of dialogue and openness, also promoted by the Partnership for 21st Century Learning, involve communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity as the four key competences for the development of the learning society, unquestionable support to the development of any organization.

The critical thinking also referred to in the World Economic Forum of Jobs where the 10 main competences that are needed for students and workers in the digital and transdisciplinary world of tomorrow are pointed out.

By 2020, these competencies should include ability to solve complex problems, critical thinking, creativity, ability to coordinate with others, negotiation, cognitive flexibility, or emotional intelligence. It is a question of thinking differently, thinking in a more collaborative, creative, and interdisciplinary way, whether in academic research, teaching or with a view to professional integration into jobs of the future that are as yet unknown and to be invented. The trend is toward sound reflexivity on ways of thinking, being and doing, learning to learn with agility throughout one’s life, and solving complex problems in a rapidly changing world and not simply accumulating an endless list of disciplinary knowledge.”

Now let us think differently! Before we buy a startup, let’s try to innovate within our organization. Let us cross the skills and dreams of our organization’s employees and create the opportunity.

 

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Problems are active and do not sit around waiting for solutions. Problems always cause a greater or lesser impact in a given environment.

How can something be considered a problem when we still cannot identify what is wrong or at least not as well as it should be identified?

We know that problems do not always have adequate solutions available and that unfavorable situations are not necessarily problems to be identified.

In an organization, it is relatively easy to see that people tend to expect others to find problems that they can solve, rather than taking the initiative to look for or anticipate problems.

One of the reasons why people avoid going looking for and finding problems is the ease with which these people can later discard them. They can always say that the problem is not theirs because that particular problem requires an embroidery of another specialty or because it goes beyond the limits of their functions or responsibility.

Does the size of a problem in an organization come from the impact of the solution we are looking for?

If the problem is big does it mean that it affects a large universe of people?

It is good to remember that before we move to the construction of workable solutions in the scope of organizational innovation we must plunge with passion into the problem, identifying all its environment and accurately delimiting all its contours and details.

Finding problems means identifying the characteristics of the problem, including its location and the consequences of its existence. This means that we need to know whether all stakeholders within and outside the organization clearly and accurately understand the problem.

Identifying the root cause of a problem from the data identified by the analysis of qualitative and quantitative information is critical to ensuring that the real cause of the problem is understood. When that happens, we are on the right track.

To find the right path, we must look for problems to identify them and find creative solutions. If our attitude is proactive instead of reactive, we will naturally take the initiative to look for, or anticipate problems, changes, trends and opportunities for improvement and / or innovation.

One of the possible ways of approaching the organization is to ask the employees of the dedicated teams, for an undefined problem, to individually note the specific problems they are facing, and which are related to their initial challenge.

On the other hand, it is easy to recognize that in an organization we recognize employees who are constantly seeing problems everywhere and, despite appearing to be pessimistic behavior, this can be translated into an important and beneficial activity in identifying organizational problems of systems, processes, products or services.

What problems are we going to find?

Different people can be different angles of observation. Each angle can be a different perception and turn into different problems.

In a team it is always good to be able to create problems, to have proactive attitudes and to know how to appreciate different cognitive approaches between team employees or the organization.

When an organization manages to create synergies between problem makers and individuals with other acting preferences, every moment of a creative process benefit.

Defining the problem also requires a combined view of the problem resulting from the various perspectives as well as a long succession of questions about “why” the problem. In looking for the answers to our questions we should avoid all kinds of judgments in the definition of the problem.

It is also time to leave those beautiful forms of deductive reasoning based on past experiences and to make a breakthrough by laying the foundations for building a balance between what is achievable, what is desirable, and what is economically feasible.

Will the solutions we present to customers and users / consumers satisfy the need for a specific job well done?

Trying to know if a solution does not bring you another set of problems is a constant challenge. What are the consequences of our proposal?

Let us try to listen to what has not yet been said because it means anticipation and a place of innovation.

Knowing how to observe is as important as being watched! After all we and they are part of the same world!

 

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The teams of an organization move around three distinct environments, that is, people, processes and tools.

Most of the time, people stop looking at themselves and others and care on focusing their activity on processes and their choices on tools.

It is an interesting playful activity that leads people to adopt new trends in methodologies and processes or to find the coolest tool in the digital world, but we rarely see people on social networks or sharing platforms asking how one can we “improve thinking” or how to increase team member satisfaction (in addition to some team building experiences that are not well suited to contexts).

It is true that occasionally we see someone suggest different attitudes or call attention to the need to collaborate (implies dialogue) and to revitalize communication. Revitalize not the process itself, but the attitude towards the interlocutor and other teams that depend on our work or that are part of the same organizational system of our team.

We rarely hear anyone cry out that it is important and a priority to define problems well and frame them or contextualize them before we go on to discover solutions or innovative creation (redundancy).

We rarely hear a voice say to stop choosing in the storefront, which they prepared especially for us, and start building our solutions that give a full response to our problems and needs.

It is not usual to see one or more people in a team using a medium (critical thinking) to assess and improve their ability to judge well the options that are put to them, or built, to deliberate on a particular subject (evaluating alternatives, weighing one against the other, in order to make it possible to choose between them).

It is very rare to see someone express a desire for more diversity in the teams or to wish more interdisciplinary teams to avoid the predominance of the more homogeneous teams in the basic training or in the cultural network, but which, although usually more efficient in the execution, lose quality in creative problem solving and in the development of innovative products and services.

An organization that wants to use creativity as a lever for business success must constantly be looking for people with an open mind to collaborate with representatives of the various disciplines within and outside the organization.

After all it is this ability that distinguishes multidisciplinary teams from interdisciplinary teams. In a multidisciplinary team, everyone seeks to defend their own specialty and their techniques of choice, which leads to long-term approaches and probably weak conclusions.

On the contrary, in an interdisciplinary team, there is a collective appropriation of ideas with the transparent exposition of the positive points of the different ideas and a co-responsibility in the development of actions. In addition, contact with others causes self-reflection and allows confrontation with divergent thoughts that promote the coherence of the concepts.

We all know at what speed information flows and how cunningly it can be built and outdated constantly. This speed and the way we organize the data, when we want to make decisions, naturally implies moments of high tension and, therefore, relaxing is not a solution.

The tension within the teams when different elements need to decide must be managed in a way that benefits the team and the organization as a whole.

Most of the time these decisions are puzzling and challenge the combination of uncertainty, ambiguity, complexity, instability, and risk, and they also appeal to unique aspects of team experience as a cohesive group.

Often when we decide individually, we think about what will bring us the greatest benefits and eventually we are not aware of possible undesirable consequences for other people.

Thus, the best option is to work on the problem as a whole, paying attention to the diversity of factors and seeking to understand the complexity of causal relationships in the connections established in the organizational system.

 

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Teams are not only fundamental to the sustainable growth of small and medium-sized enterprises. Teams are also crucial in large companies where the required update speed is exponential in the changing environment of the markets.

The teams in the organizations are like rowing boats with helmsman so they should develop their activity in perfect synchronization, where the balance of the team is more important than the individual talent.

Each member of the team must be aware of their responsibilities and actions, competing with their opponents abroad and collaborating internally with the members of the team, while giving space to the helmsman as an action advisor.

“An organization’s capacity to improve existing skills and learn new ones is the most defensible competitive advantage of all.” – Gary Hamel

Developing new skills and learning from mistakes improves team results. This means that members of a team or teams are working towards a common purpose and goals and in doing so, are sharing their different capacities by playing complementary and collaborative roles with each other.

A clear and compelling purpose is the glue that binds together a group of individuals. It is the foundation on which the collective “we” of a real team is built. Purpose plays this critical role because it is the source of the meaning and significance people seek in what they do. ”

Organizations tend to perform well when their employees work effectively as a team. This happens not only because synergy is created (the whole is greater than the sum of the parts), but also because working together a team can share individual perspectives, experiences and skills to solve problems that are not defined or poorly articulated, creating solutions that would be out of the reach of a single employee.

In addition to improving the performance of teams and organizations, effective teamwork also benefits individuals because it enables mutual support and constant learning, generating a sense of belonging and commitment.

Solving problems is a constant need within the teams of an organization. Understanding the users, consumers, or employees of an organization and questioning existing models often leads us to reformulate the problem and find new, richer and broader contexts.

For this, organizations need new skills and a new frame of mind that embraces empathy, integrative thinking, optimism, experimentation and collaboration. Empathy is a high-performance fuel that leads us to the realization of projects with passion and shared purpose with all who interact with the organization.

If we accept these statements as useful for thinking about problem solving in organizations, then in light of the Predictions about Data Science, Machine Learning, and AI for 2018, we will have to ask some questions:

How to create a common purpose in team members who are confronted with this problem?

“Prediction 1:  Both model production and data prep will become increasingly automated.  Larger data science operations will converge on a single platform (of many available).  Both of these trends are in response to the groundswell movement for efficiency and effectiveness.  In a nutshell allowing fewer data scientists to do the work of many… working in code is incompatible with the large organization’s need for quality, consistency, collaboration, speed, and ease of use. ”

How to integrate and develop new competencies to respond to the evolution of different business approaches?

“Prediction 2:  Data Science continues to develop specialties that mean the mythical ‘full stack’ data scientist will disappear…

Similarly, the needs of different industries have so diverged in their special applications of predictive analytics that industry experience is just as important as data science skill…. Whoever hires you is looking for these specific skills and experiences. ”

How to bridge the change of direction of functional content of many employees?

“Prediction 3:  Non-Data Scientists will perform a greater volume of fairly sophisticated analytics than data scientists… the reality is that advanced analytic platforms, blending platforms, and data viz platforms have simply become easier to use, specifically in response to the demands of this group of users. ”

How to prepare the teams of organizations for the evolution of Deep Learning?

“Prediction 4:  Deep learning is complicated and hard.  Not many data scientists are skilled in this area and that will hold back the application of AI until the deep learning platforms are significantly simplified and productized….

Prediction 5:  Despite the hype, penetration of AI and deep learning into the broader market will be relatively narrow and slower than you think.”

How to make employees aware of the possible harmful effects of misuse of AI?

“Prediction 6:  The public (and the government) will start to take a hard look at social and privacy implications of AI, both intended and unintended.

Since the purpose of an organization is the direction it intends to follow, supported by its values ​​and habits shared by its employees (culture), how can talent management teams keep the boat with a strong paddle and direction in the face of these predictions?

 

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Simplicity is the most fundamental accelerator of focused action. If you can simplify your working environment without diluting your core capabilities, you can significantly boost your speed, productivity and effectiveness. When enterprises consider their investments in data and analytics solutions, simplification is absolutely essential to help control costs and focus on achieving desired outcomes.”

Be good at dealing with clients especially when they are difficult, being willing to fail and learning from mistakes, wish and work on continuous improvement, being open and adapting to change, working on personal and group growth or managing well financial resources may be some of the characteristics of a successful SME when the environment where an organization is embedded is stable and well-known.

However, in an environment where interactions are more complex and unpredictable, it seems to be simplicity that can most captivate each of an organization’s employees and customers.

Build trust and empathy

Making decisions or making choices (not necessarily the same thing) becomes increasingly difficult in an environment where the unexpected circulates freely and where the best elaborate predictions fail to minimize this difficulty.

Where there is instability and speed in change, simplicity is called for, since it is the only way to make time more profitable and to create harmony in the daily life of all the stakeholders.

It seems reasonable to say that we want simple products, simple guidelines, and we want things to work quickly and easily the first time we use them, without much effort.

So, to be able to propose what people want, companies, in addition to listening to all interested parties, also need to design their products and services from research on the needs and wants of the customer.

This research is also a source of trust that is established with the market.

Get a different perspective

To achieve “simplicity”, it is often necessary a hard work.

It is probably easy to imagine many simple situations that we had in organizations and that became complicated because we did not reflect on the advantages of simplicity and, therefore, of more difficult resolution after this inattention.

When we look at a pallet, a container, or a Lego game, we find that all these objects represent simplicity. They are objects that represent something like economic accessibility, guarantee of great capacity of realization of the intention of the organization, capacity of agglomeration and, therefore, scale or facility of planning, the same as saying, predictability of outcomes.

In organizations, especially when teams are interdisciplinary, and diversity is present, if organizational behavior is simple, it should remain simple, that is, with predictable results, without increasing resources, with a good response capacity and easy reorganization I the face of change.

If, on the contrary, we try to manage the complexity of people or groups of people, we must seek to know where the main function or ignition is, to increase the capacity to perform or to manage conflicts resulting from the interaction of people and things.

Being aware of yourself

But just because I am able and this works, does not mean that I will have to add something new as if the novelty were needed. I must focus on people and realize that they do not have all the same knowledge or skills.

Before presenting products and services to consumers and users, we must build a sensible hierarchy of characteristics in our market proposal so that users are not distracted by features or functions they do not need or do not want. After all, most of the objects we use in everyday life are not (or should not be) games with a high degree of difficulty of execution or with strong additive characteristics.

Similarly, for people who collaborate in organizations, heavy and matrix hierarchies should not be built to simplify the observation of authority and facilitate communication flows.

“Simplicity and complexity need each other. The more complexity there is in the market, the more that something simpler stands out. And because technology will only continue to grow in complexity, there is a clear economic benefit to adopting a strategy of simplicity that will help set your product apart. “- John Maeda

 

 

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Try to make a reflection on the organization where we work so much can bring us a smile as a burden of unhealthy anxiety. It all depends on our will to win and want to be part of a process of transformation!

For example, in an organization, “Creating the right environment for innovators can help a company prepare for the future while running its core business for current success”.

An organization is a system, part of a larger (also systemic) environment where it is embedded. The deeper knowledge of this system and its subsystems, inputs and outputs, can lead us to a better understanding of our role in this world and the purpose of the organization in which we collaborate.

Getting to know the organization better allows us to develop some skills for the future, many of them transversal to the business domain of different organizations, and thus becoming more comfortable with possible zones of discomfort and extreme adversity that may arise.

Being able to build the future and prevent damage with disastrous consequences for our life and for the organization is a competence we can only develop when our knowledge of organizational and environmental complexity is high.

Creating a healthy and motivating environment, where we can develop our abilities and skills, is increasingly the result of living and thinking in a network and also, as a result of these connections, of influencing and involving others in the search for the meaning of things.

In this sense, the future has already arrived and probably brings with it the return of the middle managers able to “manage people”, a task that top managers seem to have performed with little success in many cases. It is worth noting that this does not necessarily imply a vertical hierarchy given the complex nature of formal and informal networks. Influencing becomes the true purpose of leadership that will eventually stop pursuing “being itself, charismatic or authoritarian” to become a strong manager in communication, able to give constructive feedback, resolve conflicts and make individualized learning.

Networks, as we know, are global and for this reason the influence we can print unfolds throughout the world. By being able to connect the various generations that make up the organizational world we are also taking the fundamental steps towards effective and rewarding leadership for all stakeholders in the organization and its environment.

So, what does it matter?

It is important to work on the inclusion of all generations in the actions that need to be implemented or developed, rather than merely observing them.

It is important to develop flexibility as a way to motivate all members of the organization. The concepts of agility, disruption and digitization still remain valued in the language of leadership and in most of the collaborators.

It is important to embrace the concept of “machine learning” and a greater understanding of (AI) artificial intelligence, since they can allow better management of organizations.

It is important to promote a climate conducive to the development of curiosity. This enormous need to find answers to questions or problems is often the main lever of scientific activity or innovation.

It is important to understand that the younger generations believe in generosity and perseverance and that these values, being respected, create bonds and a sense of commitment to the purpose of organizations.

It is important to develop interdisciplinarity by provoking the intersection of different points of view that will give rise to innovative ideas and to the creation of value.

It is important to develop a mentality of experimentation and learning, as a result of reflection and critical thinking.

Summing up:

It is necessary that the development of the new leaders or managers is not the result of any training package, but of a learning journey, multidisciplinary and tailor-made.

Preparing or building a leadership involves assessing the strengths and behaviors of a candidate, facilitating the building of skills to fit their needs, being willing to implement learning and sharing in the real world, building a “model” for assessing their progression, and giving feedback transparent.

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Innovation is a concept that occupies a unique space in the creation and development of business. Innovation remains, without a doubt, one of the most relevant competitive factors of today.

When companies follow the “copy and paste” trend in a new context to the detriment of their own unique identity, they are following the path of business in the amusement park. We must start thinking differently, that is, we must to think innovatively about products, services and work methodologies.

Innovation in organizations does not have to be just incremental, for example, in a nuclear product or service or only disruptive when a hackathon appears capable of providing a scenario previously unimaginable.

Innovation in organizations does not have to be in products or services and can be in methodologies of work, in business models or experiences of employees.

Innovation in organizations should respond to meeting the needs of all stakeholders (customers, partners, employees and management).

In a tradition (and therefore no innovation) that has lasted for some years, organizations are systemic entities, and to understand them we must go through the distinct levels of analysis that go from the individual to the organization, through the groups. Here there is always an input and an output.

Although these levels can and should be a benchmark, an approach to innovation in organizations should have a greater focus on the interaction and multiple inputs and outputs in information that the organization’s internal and external, formal and informal networks provide.

In the exercise of their activity, organizations should facilitate these interactions to manage the knowledge and behavior of the organization’s elements to innovation, be it incremental, disruptive or both.

The processing of data that may result in information to decide or to plan can no longer be a set of opinions from several different authorities, each in its discipline or silo.

Decision-making should not result from a sum of opinions but from a combination of opinions. Selecting the relevant aspects and making a difference, creating value, leads to innovative thinking.

We must remember that today data science is an interdisciplinary field and data scientists have basic skills in many fields adjacent to their specialty such as engineering, product management, math, business management, etc.

As one example, a fundamental principle of data science is that solutions for extracting useful knowledge from data must carefully consider the problem from the business perspective.  This may sound obvious at first, but the notion underlies many choices that must be made in the process of data analytics, including problem formulation, method choice, solution evaluation, and general strategy formulation.”

This truth may seem useful only to large companies, but it is not!

If it is true that large companies are the big beneficiaries of these data analysis processes, it is also true that the notion (knowledge and meaning) or environmental awareness where they are inserted gives SMEs an added advantage in the refining of products and services to customers and users, adding a non-visible value to larger companies.

This is because of their proximity to consumers, which allows them to transparently absorb the cultural values ​​and needs of the ecosystems in which they are inserted.

“Innovation is only possible when challenging the norm and questioning a brief one has been given, becomes inherent to working when trying to find the best possible answer to a problem.” – Christiane Drews

To find this answer we must recognize the need for a joint effort where there is collaboration and creation of knowledge that can lead us to differentiate between an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary team that, although not consensual, has more visibility, for example in the health area.

What is at issue here are questions of the territory of knowledge and its rationale.

While multidisciplinary “teams” almost always produce sums of knowledge for third parties, interdisciplinary teams have an advantage resulting from the formation of generalist competencies by team members when they have the possibility to discuss third-party interventions in their areas of expertise.

Interdisciplinary teams can be frameworks that provide environments that:

– Allow openness to new challenges.

– Allow us to think about the unthinkable.

– Favor the opposite perspective.

– Favor creative doubt.

– Open the way to boldness.

– Open the way to trust.

– Favor dialogue.

The innovation now has a “wardrobe” available to organizations that only the construction of the future will allow them to know the limits.

From mindset on mindset the interdisciplinary teams are there. From design thinking in problem solving to agile in “job to be done”, from incremental innovation to disruptive innovation, from defining customer needs to continuous improvement, from work methodologies to building collective intelligence or from data science to creativity in marketing.

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We have all experienced feelings of discomfort that result from two contradictory beliefs.

The existence of a dissonance, being psychologically uncomfortable, tends to motivate people to seek consonance, that is, to seek a zone of comfort.

In small and medium-sized companies executives do not deny the need to innovate to be competitive, but the risks that this may entail lead to a zone of discomfort.

To reduce this dissonance, people can look for new information that challenges the connection between innovation and competitiveness. This new information can serve to reduce the discomfort caused by the dissonance that some people experiences.

Phil Rosenzweig said: “It’s possible to believe honestly that you have a market-beating strategy when, in fact, you don’t. Sometimes, that’s because forces beyond your control change. But in other cases, the cause is unintentional fuzzy thinking.

Behavioral economists have identified many characteristics of the brain that are often strengths in our broader, personal environment but that can work against us in the world of business decision making. The worst offenders include overoptimism (our tendency to hope for the best and believe too much in our own forecasts and abilities), anchoring (tying our valuation of something to an arbitrary reference point), loss aversion (putting too much emphasis on avoiding downsides and so eschewing risks worth taking), the confirmation bias (overweighting information that validates our opinions), herding (taking comfort in following the crowd), and the champion bias (assigning to an idea merit that’s based on the person proposing it). “

It is relatively easy to admit that our business approach is made up of illusions, logic errors, and failed judgments that distort our understanding of the real reasons that determine an organization’s performance.

When, for example, a company’s sales and profits are high, people conclude that this organization has an overwhelming strategy, a leader with extraordinary visions, talented employees, and an excellent culture that even drives innovation.

But when the results are not so good, then the leader was not so good after all, the collaborators did not collaborate and the culture was fictitious.

What often happens is that little has changed, but the previously established image creates an aura effect, which is nothing more than an illusion.

In fact, there is a concern with the quality of decision-making, confirmed with research that indicate that cognitive tendencies affect the most important strategic decisions made by the managers of the best companies.

As an example, let us consider two cognitive propensities that are common and relevant in an economic context where innovation is the word of the day:

– Excessive confidence and cognitive dissonance. Both can bring discomfort!

Or maybe not!

If on the one hand, we know that an individual who has overconfidence overestimates the accuracy of their private information.

On the other hand, cognitive dissonance happens when we perceive an incompatibility of information elements that cause us tension, and to get rid of that tension we create the propensity to acquire or perceive information in accordance with a set of desired things.

If a consultant or an analyst issues a privately favorable forecast of high profits his tendency to interpret the subsequent information to support the information previously provided.

There is, however, another side of the coin in the cognitive dissonance that Javier Santiso, a ESADE professor, brings with great grace and pertinence.

“Yet perhaps the key to this successful repositioning lies precisely in the IMF’s ability to regenerate and subvert itself, i.e. to exhibit cognitive dissonance and innovation, not only by tolerating this internal dissonance, but rather by promoting it (Blanchard’s hire alone evidences this audacity).

This is a feat of great merit, since whether public or private, national or international, none of our institutions tend to favor dissonance. Very much on the contrary, they tend to limit disruptive, innovative potential.

Consider, for example, the remuneration of bankers via the (now infamous) bonus system, invented to reward those who have (supposedly) made money. Where are the reward systems for those who have avoided losing money?

Cognitive dissonance is as rare and precious as a white pearl. It is key to promoting innovation and to reinventing oneself.”

Probably we can see the parallel between the processes of Cognitive Dissonance, that is, experiencing incompatible cognitions and the need to reduce unpleasant feelings (act to resolve conflict) and the Creative Tension, that is, experiencing the difference between reality at a given moment and Desired result (acting to create something reduces stress).

We do not like to hear the cognitive dissonance say:

What I want is this…, But I do not have it!

To alleviate this discomfort, we must release energy and resources and put creativity to fill the gaps created by this dissonance.

 

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This text was inspired by an article of mine already published in this blog  to remember past learning.

 

Trust and collaboration

Never our ability to manage change and complexity was so important, as it is today, when we consider the extent to which we are bound by the fast pace of life that we take.

If there are people who manage to maintain a healthy balance between the tensions of the various environments that make up their lives, others despair and have no control with so much change, symbol of discomfort and adversity.

To manage (maintain balance/adapt) change, the first step is to understand the internal mechanisms that make the change so difficult, and that serve as food to our natural resistance, when faced with something new.

Doesn’t seem to have great importance the existence of these dimensions, but they begin to have meaning when we observe the resistance expressed by leaders from numerous organizations. It is then that we should be talking about courage to be free of the status quo and to take risks.

The psychological change, which leaders and all employees from the organizations are liable results from allowed changes or socially permitted in organizations structures and in drawings of hierarchies.

To change from a control zone to a zone of cooperation implies the acceptance of the new rules and the adoption of new behaviors.

Be used or accustomed to a particular posture does not require special effort to maintain it, even when this way of being is not perfect or the most appropriate.

Change requires an adjustment period and some questions about whether the change is actually a good thing because anything new always involves some risk on our part.

However, when organizations are living a culture of courage the acceptance of risk is seen as an invitation to explore opportunities and as a challenge to the capacities of individuals and organization.

Creating a culture of courage is not only create brave people who before were afraid to express their ideas and to experiment. It is mainly to create a mood of confidence, integrity and tolerance for taking risks.

To not control or obey a hierarchy established and allow the construction of a network of collaboration based on trust and not in inconsequential euphoric moments is a good way for a culture of courage.

When there is trust, courage emerges to be able to understand more deeply and with other eyes new opportunities to solve problems and this is only possible with an open mind to receive return of what one does.

To find the solutions that meet the needs identified we have to talk about business and this implies a strategy that includes not only provide a value and meaning to the user/consumer but also to create a competitive advantage and generate profit for the organization.

It is not enough to differentiate. It is necessary that our solution is viable and profitable and it only reaches through a collaborative work in team with a lot of interaction based on shared confidence and courage.

-Collaboration that must exist also in experimentation be it a product concept or a business model, where the ideas are experimented sooner and more quickly, taking advantage of the experience and perspective of all members of the respective teams or organization.

-Courage to try or to take the initiative and go to action, proceeding with pioneer steps facing adversity.

-Confidence to solve problems in a creative way and with eyes and ears in the user/consumer, traversing their daily lives through observation to detect opportunities and identify needs often hidden.

-Courage to trust abandoning control impulses and to listen to dissenting voices or to confront difficult issues or sensitive ones.

Courage to trust and trust to have courage can be important puns in the life of an organization.

 

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