Currently viewing the tag: "Diversity and creativity"

Interdisciplinary teams and culture

An organization wishing to use creativity as a lever for business success should be constantly looking for people with a mind open to collaboration with the representatives of the various existing disciplines inside and outside the organization.

It is this ability that distinguishes the multidisciplinary teams of interdisciplinary teams. A multidisciplinary team seeks to defend his individual’s own specialty and their techniques of choice which causes long-term approaches and probably weak conclusions.

In an interdisciplinary team, there is a collective ownership of ideas and a co-responsibilization assumed in the development of actions.

We know or we think that creativity calls for autonomy and for responsibility and that one of the factors which leverage creativity is the exposure to many stimuli from living with many experiences in diverse locations.

In addition, the contact with others allows the confrontation with divergent thoughts that promote consistency of the concept we are dealing with.

In an organization when an idea is presented by one of its members, the role of other collaborators with regard to knowledge is important in generating ideas, because it is, according Teresa Amabile, a prerequisite for creative success.

It has become a cliché that great discoveries come from interdisciplinary thinking—a chemist bringing insight to a discussion of a materials problem, a physicist sharing an intuition about a problem in biology, a biologist helping an engineer see how nature comes up with optimal solutions. Few realize how much science is energized when team members have different cultural approaches to problem solving. International diversity is just as important as diversity of discipline.”

Within an organization, the creative teams are dynamic, given the diversity of talents that are involved, either by the way they view the conflict of ideas, either by the way they manage the energy available (forces or weaknesses).

If we observe with some attention the course of the work of a team looking for solutions to a problem, we note that its elements are agile in balancing the weaknesses of each other’s forces.

There is a constant challenge between them and the criticisms are assumed as a way to raise the level of enjoyment of creative play, and most of the time this challenge supported on deep understanding of each other’s limits. There is empathy.

However, when an organization presents itself with a vertical structure, in which leadership is imposed and ideas circulate with difficulty the environment is not conducive to creativity.

Looking for a unique response to the resolution of a problem that typically has origin in a complex situation that corresponds to our daily lives or searching for logic and rules for finding solutions makes it difficult to offer answers based on ideas.

Therefore, in an organization people driven by utilitarian tend to adhere to standards and strategies that the experience taught them are better suited to perform.

However, the changing nature of our society, rich in diversity of cultural experiences, places often questions about the relationship of people to each other and issues with physical environments where they are inserted.

To solve some of the problems that may arise in relationships and in the integration of people in diverse environments we have to draw these relationships and this involves paying attention to factors as race, ethnicity, gender, class, age, physical or mental disability/ability, and religion.

This diversity that we see today in most places that we know has been ignored in respect of its potential as a source of energy and creativity.

It is therefore important to emphasize that the complementarity that can exist among the members of the teams in an organization is essential to the promotion of ideas.

If, the other members of the team of each one of us, they occupy a different role or are on a different level of organization, working in another field of interest, or has connections with people different from the usual contacts, complementarity is evidenced.

Although I feel the need to highlight the need to leverage the potential of the cultural and disciplinary diversity, there are other things that I think are important for reflection.

Disciplines exist and some, with a history of many years, still insist on indulging in their neighborhoods. There are some cultures, and in some places, that tend to radicalization. People need to reflect and use their capacity for critical thinking.

For example, today most MBAs are based on statistical studies and accounting and creativity has a secret place at its disposal with non-visual expression and in spite of everything we all know that the image is an excellent means of communication.

Maybe “design” can help in understanding the importance of cultural diversity and interdisciplinarity.


Because, “to design is much more than simply to assemble, to order, or even to edit; it is to add value and meaning, to illuminate, to simplify, to clarify, to dignify, to dramatize, to persuade and even perhaps to amuse.”-Paul Rand

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Small and big crises

Today, Umair Haque put a question on twitter that made me remember some common observations when we are faced with a problem:

“Are we still of the belief that “if you have no solutions, you should keep your mouth shut”? Is that a wise idea for learning and knowledge?

And what about, if facing a problem, we start by postponing the trial of ideas, and we launch into the air, along with others, a reasonable number of new ideas?

So maybe, in a conversation at a time and visualizung those ideas we can build something new based on ideas of others but keeping us on the topic of the problem.

Ah! And already now encourage wild ideas, crazy and nonsensical because the solution can be there!

Now that the time has come to select ideas, let’s use contrasting selection criteria in order to preserve innovation, that is, so we don’t end up only with safe bets or long-distance guesses, but with a combination of ideas of what is possible with a view to the future.

-“What can we do with what we know or what we did before, that may have value?” Lavoie

-Certainly it is not to stay with the mouth closed!

We know that businesses and society generally, like ideas ranging from A to B in a logical sequence of reasoning where uncertainty causes headaches though it is a fundamental characteristic of the days in which we live.

So we must think in provide persons and organizations, systematic ways to search for patterns and relationships in a large number of different variables, including conflicting data, ambiguous or even paradoxical.

I think it is important to create white spaces where all people in an organization can open his mouth even if that means throwing the uncertainty.

Using the patterns and relationships found in the diversity of ideas presented in an organization or ecosystem it is possible to generate a set of principles that increase the likelihood of success when we face challenges that seem to shake for being complex or because their dynamics and so strong that we see as ambiguous.

“In order to achieve a balance of resources that lends itself to dealing ably with uncertainty, businesses need to have the flexibility and creativity to adjust, to renew their market position, to fund intangible values that shore up the human intelligence that drives their enterprise…

Uncertainty is important, because it is not always what it seems. The instability it seems to suggest can also be an opportunity for growth, evolution, innovation. And a shifting landscape of influence and competition can allow for concurrent evolutions and innovations that support and sustain one’s own new models and methods…

Diversity of resources and of opportunity must be one of the assets built into any successful enterprise, along with the intellectual and strategic agility necessary for keeping afloat in periodically rough seas.” – Joseph Robertson

In a sea of uncertainty, where diversity exists it may be the best way to express new ideas and create new knowledge and encourage learning.

If we do not have solutions we need to ask “what if …”?

If we do not have solutions we must abandon the certainties and embrace the doubts!

If we do not have solutions we must question the assumptions!

If we do not have solutions we must meet with people who think different from what we think!

If we do not have solutions we must re-examine the problems!

If we do not have solutions we must identify that actors who are manifested in the problem and what is after all their roler!

If we do not have solutions we will work seriously and  hard to the find it!

If we do not have solutions we can’t ignore the problem because this is the best way to turn the complex into complicated!

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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?