The work on innovation teams

When I read “Viewpoint: Gartner on the changing nature of work” by Tom Austin, I awoke to a mark that I have placed myself on the future of teamwork.

In a previous article I discussed the question of mobility and collaboration where I say that to be able to travel without having to dispense each virtual community, affects people’s movement patterns and has an extraordinary impact on our transport habits or the organization of jobs or even human concentration places.

Tom Austin says that in the next decade organizations must plan for a set of mega trends including one that he called swarms, i.e. “Swarming is a new and different form of teamwork, characterised by a flurry of collective activity from everyone available and able to add value.”

I think, in organizations, there is increasingly an appreciation of teamwork where the fundamental value that people add is in the works that flee from routine and are typically human as analysis work or creativity and discovery, or the construction of teams where the leadership abandon control and embrace the influence.

Leveraging the inspiration left by Tom Austin with the new form of work in swarm, I leave you here a small challenge:

In the following text, replace the queen with a business idea and scout bees by partners in this business and assume the discovery of your whitespace. Please, stay tuned to the behavior of bees, so copies on his teachings and remove the best image to save.

“When a honey bee swarm emerges from a hive they do not fly far at first. They may gather in a tree or on a branch only a few meters from the hive. There, they cluster about the queen and send 20 – 50 scout bees out to find a suitable new nest locations. The scout bees are the most experienced foragers in the cluster. An individual scout returning to the cluster promotes a location she found. She uses a dance similar to the waggle dance to indicate direction and distance to others in the cluster. The more excited she is about her findings the more excitedly she dances. If she can convince other scouts to check out the location she found, they may take off, check out the proposed site and promote the site further upon their return. Several different sites may be promoted by different scouts at first. After several hours and sometimes days, slowly a favorite location emerges from this decision making process. When all scouts agree on a final location the whole cluster takes off and flies to it. A swarm may fly a kilometer or more to the scouted location. This collective decision making process is remarkably successful in identifying the most suitable new nest site and keeping the swarm intact. A good nest site has to be large enough to accommodate the swarm (about 15 liters in volume), has to be well protected from the elements, receive a certain amount of warmth from the sun and be not infested with ants”

Today there is an increasing intersection between lines which delimit the work and those which delimit the not work.

The work is becoming more proactive and more virtual workplace where time zones confuse working hours and leisure time and where the complexity will appeal to teamwork.

The swarms of people tend to move around and choose the best place to build the new nest, situation which may give rise to a new wave of previously populated areas of occupation and now abandoned.

People perform the waggle dance to celebrate small victories!

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4 Responses to Building teams and the waggle dance on innovation

  1. Michelle says:

    Great article. Jonathon Haidt’s new book has some great examples of how human’s behave like bees and the swarms that we create in order to fulfill our potential. You might enjoy it!

  2. To observe how nature utilises the collective intelligence is the simplest analogy for us to understand. We have the road-map we require to work with complexity, we need to spend less time thinking and more time doing what actually comes naturally to us. Thanks for sharing this important post.

    I’m a big fan of biomimicry: “A new science that studies nature’s models and then uses these designs and processes to solve human problems.” I think you’ll like this video: http://www.ted.com/talks/janine_benyus_biomimicry_in_action.html

    • Jose Baldaia says:

      Hi Paul!
      Thank you for your comments!
      I’m a big fan too of biomimicry, may be not as a structured discipline but as you said “to observe how nature …” and be inspired. Water is one of my special and dearest elements to observe and make analogies.
      Thank you for the link too!
      Jose

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