Read a selection of your colleagues’ postings.
Respond to two of your colleagues (select colleagues, if possible, who have not yet received feedback on their original post) in one or more of the following ways:
- Based on your experience and the resources from the course, provide that person with additional suggestions and/or alternative approaches that he or she may not have considered specific to his or her evaluation.
- Compare your colleagues’ ideas with what IDEO found to be successful. Does IDEO offer additional ideas that would enhance the potential for success of your colleagues’ suggestions?
- Provide positive feedback that describes how the post gave you new perspectives on how to support and encourage a creative environment in the workplace. Provide details about how those perspectives influence the way you now think about creativity in the workplace.
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Leadership, Environment, and ProcessI will soon be joining an innovative software innovation company. Their top-lean leadership comprises the CEO and two VPs, followed by functional leads (account management, product, marketing, and HR), and everyone sits in the same area at the same type of desk to enable open communication without a hierarchy chain (Catmull, 2008).
Their core strength of innovation comes down to three factors, those of expertise, creative thinking skills, and motivation, and the company seeks to enable all three with their work environment and organizational processes (Amabile, 1998). For example, the hiring process tests individuals on outside the box thinking to ensure that they aren’t just hiring the best and brightest, but those who aren’t afraid to think differently. They also empower their creatives by having a non-traditional recreational space, including spaces for quiet reflection and for play to support intrinsic motivation (Amabile, 1998). They also have everyone participate in weekly standups where wins and challenges are shared, and new ideas and feedback are actively solicited (Catmull, 2008). They recognize that in order to promote innovation, the work environment needs to value the psychological needs of their team members (Puccio, Mance, & Murdock, 2011).
Area for Improvement
One initiative that could be implemented is improving workspace personalization and character. One thing that I have noticed is that the office space is relatively new, as they moved in about a year prior to accommodate current and future team growth. Much like at IDEO, desks are all modular so that project groups can form and dismantle as necessary (Puccio et al., 2011). However, the desks, walls, and shelving are relatively barren and display little of team members’ personalities.
A barren workspace takes time to fill with personality, but it is my opinion that the current emptiness likely makes employees feel slightly disconnected from their workspace, and does not contribute to inspiration at their desks. This weakness is easily fixable. The company can grant individuals a small budget and set aside an hour of time for everyone to decorate their work area with past prototypes, posters, personal knick knacks, or even simply a colorful adhesive wrap for their desk, all to encourage employees to feel more at home and comfortable in their workspace.
In the first discussion thread, I have taken an example of my current employer. I will continue with the same.
The creative climate of people, process, and leadership.
The partner who leads the practice that I work in is the youngest on in the Middle East. He is very dynamic, passionate, responsive to people needs. I can’t remember him shouting at someone or throwing someone under the bus in a difficult situation. He is available to me and others 24×7, even when he is on leave. On top of that, he is well diverse, he carries a huge amount of practical knowledge across industries and cultures. Just being next to him is an inspirational act J He groomed most of the guys, who are part of the team today. This created multiple layers of people who are operating based on the same set of values and demonstrate very similar behavior, with some personality flavor. There are few key points, I want to stress on about the leadership team, process, and environment:
- Picture of what future should look like is always there. Enough effort is put to explain whom it will look for the practice and where you may fit.
- The progress of getting there is always there. Since I joined the team (3 years) ago, we have been achieving much better results than envisioned. Currently, one of top performing teams in Technology consulting.
- Talent management and talent grooming. You are getting continuous support for delivering your current task. Right-sizing matters and it is ensured throughout the process of preparation. I recently got two counselees, whom I mentor and coach as part of the team. This was enabled by the performance management process that we have in place.
- I find many similarities with the process adopted in IDEO (Puccio et al, 2011 p.4). This includes Understand all aspect, Observe customer, Visualize prototype/storyboard, Evaluate & Refine concepts, Implement solution/innovation. For example, out proposal preparation undergoes similar steps. With the only difference, that we are observing clients (not their customers). But, we always factor modern social trends and behaviors through available research information, when we talk about client’s customers.
- You are free to work from where ever you want. It might be home, bus, office, client, cafe, hotel etc. Unfortunately, you can’t mess up much with space. Not like in IDEO, where it seems to be a combination of “college dorm, a daycare playroom and an art studio” (Puccio et al, 2011 p.4). I wish I could. This I will describe in an initiative part.
We do a log of super-cool presentations to our clients while talking about concepts and how the future should look like. We also have a mandate of looking and acting professionally. So, keeping people in the environment similar to the one describe in IDEO case, just would not fit. But, nobody canceled creativity, right?
The idea of old prototypes around or hang from the ceiling described in the week reading (Puccio et al, 2011, p.4) has inspired me for the following thought.
Why not replace wallpapers with OLED screens (aka smart walls)? You can continuously demonstrate team-best crafts, alert of some crucial things happening, throw some interesting thoughts on it, allow people to post their problems while at their desk, looking for skills and etc. This would still look neat and mature and distract us little bit form the smartphone. Imagine that you can type your problem in the chat window and everyone in the office can see it on the walls around them. Anyone may post an anonym reply or just come and assist you. With this, I would probably be able to solicit best ideas from people whom I may not know. A good way to boost the network and get to know each other.