Innovation Alone Won't Lead to Prosperity by Robert Montenegro There's a great Chris Rock standup bit from the 90s in which he talks about failing a Black History course because he doesn't really know anything about Black History. For every question asked ("What's the capital of Zaire?") his answer is always "Martin Luther King." That bit came straight to my mind when I read Rod Hunter's recent article on innovation in the Wall Street Journal. Hunter argues that innovation has become a meaningless buzzword. "Yet there is ample evidence that the greatest benefits from innovation can’t be captured by state policies. Hunter employs the example of the World Wide Web, invented in 1989 in a Swiss lab. "Rather the companies throughout the world that learned to harness its power for many different uses. So Hunter's point here is that funding innovative research isn't enough on its own. What's your take on Hunter's opinion? Read more at The Wall Street Journal Photo credit: balein / Shutterstock
Why Some Teams Are Smarter Than Others Individual intelligence, as psychologists measure it, is defined by its generality: People with good vocabularies, for instance, also tend to have good math skills, even though we often think of those abilities as distinct. The results of our studies showed that this same kind of general intelligence also exists for teams. On average, the groups that did well on one task did well on the others, too. We next tried to define what characteristics distinguished the smarter teams from the rest, and we were a bit surprised by the answers we got. Instead, the smartest teams were distinguished by three characteristics. First, their members contributed more equally to the team’s discussions, rather than letting one or two people dominate the group. Second, their members scored higher on a test called Reading the Mind in the Eyes, which measures how well people can read complex emotional states from images of faces with only the eyes visible. And they did. This last finding was another surprise.
Tom Wujec: Got a wicked problem? First, tell me how you make toast | Talk Subtitles and Transcript Giancarlo Zema on Behance The Five Dysfunctions of a Team The Five Dysfunctions of a Team is a business book by consultant and speaker Patrick Lencioni. It describes the many pitfalls that teams face as they seek to "row together". This book explores the fundamental causes of organizational politics and team failure. Like most of Lencioni's books, the bulk of it is written as a business fable. The issues it describes are especially important in team sports. Summary According to the book, the five dysfunctions are: Absence of trust—unwilling to be vulnerable within the groupFear of conflict—seeking artificial harmony over constructive passionate debateLack of commitment—feigning buy-in for group decisions creates ambiguity throughout the organizationAvoidance of accountability—ducking the responsibility to call peers on counterproductive behavior which sets low standardsInattention to results—focusing on personal success, status and ego before team success Characters Periodical reviews See also Business fable
Are You Ready to Get Creative? What makes companies ready for successful innovation? We know it’s not the size of their R&D budgets, even relative to their revenues. Since 2005, the annual Strategy& Innovation 1000 studies have examined which companies spend the most on R&D and which firms have the most success with it. The conclusion, year after year, has been the same: There is no correlation between innovation spend and business performance. If it isn’t spending that leads to success, there must be other qualities that distinguish truly innovative companies. Companies need to be set up to encourage, recognize, support, and implement great ideas. Five factors, in particular, seem to make a difference. • Strategic alignment. • Innovative capabilities. • External networks and partnerships. • Organization and processes. • Cultural alignment. Research on innovation often focuses on one or two of these factors at a time, but it doesn’t consider how they overlap and interrelate.
Design Thinking for Social Innovation - Featured Topics - Community - TakingITGlobal This month we asked ourselves the question, what fuels effective social innovation? We are pleased to present our featured topic on Design Thinking (DT). Consider this a crash course in the concepts and processes behind DT, as well as in-depth resources that include relevant literature, media, and toolkits for its effective implementation. This article also provides case studies and examples of DT in action to inspire you towards affecting positive social change in an innovative and engaging way. Big Ideas Summary "Design Thinking draws upon logic, imagination, intuition, and systemic reasoning, to explore possibilities of what could be, and to create desired outcomes that benefit the end user (the customer). Design Thinking… What is it, and how is it different than Design? In order to understand how DT works, we need to differentiate it from what we traditionally call Design. DT is an emerging field that originates from the principles of traditional design disciplines. Cross, N. (2011).
The Collaboration Paradox: Why Working Together Often Yields Weaker Results On a midsummer afternoon in 1957, a church fundraiser altered the course of music history. It was just after 4:00 when a group of teenagers took the stage. Rumor has it the boys were so anxious about playing in front of their neighbors, they downed a few beers before launching their set. This may explain why several songs into the performance, their lead singer forgot his lyrics, struggled to improvise, and somehow mangled, “Come little darlin’, come and go with me,” into, “Down, down, down, down to the penitentiary.” Most of the audience was oblivious to the flub. Half a century later, Lennon and McCartney’s collaborative works are credited with launching a new era in music history—one in which it became acceptable to combine genres, play a sitar alongside a violin, and use technology as an instrument. Marriage therapists have an equation they use to evaluate relationships. In a functional marriage, the arithmetic is simple. Successful marriages are different. Insist on homework.
Practice frame shifting to spot untapped innovation opportunities Perception separates the innovator from the imitator. To see anew, learn to set aside preconceptions by exploring new perspectives. How might we shift our perspective and explore what we might be missing? This is a common question I ask myself all the time because I want to overcome our human tendency to bring our preconceived notions with us whenever we are attacking a problem; therefore limiting our view of potential alternatives. How do we overcome that? Innovation is more a matter of attitude and perspective than process. Ed Catmull makes a poignant point in his book, Creativity Inc., that Pixar has avoided stagnation because they’ve created mechanisms that force them to constantly fight their own mental models, and put Pixar’s collective heads in a different frame of mind. The most innovative leaders are reframers, and unleash innovation in their organizations by asking new questions, and/or immerse themselves in the environment they wish to understand. But first… Why? Key Takeaway
Introducing Design Methods This guide is for anyone who wants to understand the methods designers use and try them out for themselves. We’ve grouped 20 design methods into three categories: Discover, Define and Develop. These are based on the first three stages of the Double Diamond, the Design Council’s simple way of mapping the design process. Methods like these are used all the time in our work with clients. Discover Creating a project space Observation User diaries Being your users Brainstormin Fast visualization Choosing a sample Quantitative surveys Secondary research Hopes and fears Define Assessment criteria Comparing notes Drivers and hurdles Focus groups Customer journey mapping Develop Character profiles Scenarios Role playing Blueprinting Physical prototyping 1. What is it? Creating a dedicated area to organise project materials, work and meet. What is it useful for? How can I do it? Find - or make - a dedicated project zone. 2. Pick your scenario and record your observation with photos or video. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.
Collaborating Online Is Sometimes Better than Face-to-Face If you’re embracing online collaboration as a necessary evil — the only way to work with an increasingly dispersed team of global or remote workers, for example — then you’re doing it wrong. Online collaboration is not a second-best substitute for face-to-face work: It’s a complement with its own perks and benefits. Yes, knitting your team together with online communication tools like Yammer and Slack can help you mitigate the disruptive impact of people working from home instead of at the office. But if all you’re asking from online collaboration is for the magic of working face-to-face, you’re doomed to frustration. But in many circumstances, online collaboration is actually preferable to in-person collaboration. Online collaboration, like most digital phenomena, is good at solving very specific kinds of problems: time problems, distance problems and communication problems.
How to Improve Your Critical Thinking Skills As an entrepreneur, you make decisions every day that affect the success of your products, the loyalty of your employees, and the overall health of your business. To make the best decisions possible, you need to think critically and quickly to pick out any flaws in your processes that might harm your business. When you think through a problem, your thought process is naturally colored by biases, such as your point of view and your assumptions about the situation. Each of those biases affects your reasoning. "Critical thinking is a way to intervene in your thought process," says Linda Elder, an educational psychologist and president of the Foundation for Critical Thinking based in Tomales, Calif. Related: How to Sharpen Your Decision-Making Skills Try these three strategies to help you think through a problem effectively. 1. Once you identify your purpose, it should inform every step of your decision process. 2. To do that, articulate your own viewpoint. 3.
The Collaboration Imperative For various reasons, the management challenges ahead will require the skills of a collaborative leader. Many leaders, however, lack the required skills to collaborate meaningfully. Readers will learn what those skills are and how they can develop them in this article. Organizations face an increasingly complex and unpredictable competitive landscape, and one that is filled with new, aggressive competitors. A few years ago, for example, who would have predicted that electronics manufacturer Samsung would offer stiff competition to GE in the appliance and lighting marketplaces? In the years ahead volatility and uncertainty will tyrannize markets, and companies will need leaders who are highly adaptive, continuous learners, able to lead diverse groups across functional disciplines, regions and cultures. Getting to the root of collaboration challenges Why has the development of collaborative leadership skills lagged the evolution of organizational structures? Collaborating in the matrix 1.
Managing beyond the organizational hierarchy with communities and social networks at Electronic Arts Image by opensource.com How do you manage a very large, very complex organization that is geographically disbursed in many different countries around the world? You already know that the outdated hierarchal organizational structure won’t work and if you are like many companies you are probably beginning to realize that the matrix type structure (where each employee reports to both a task manager and a resource manager) has its own limitations. Electronic Arts (EA) established cross-company virtual communities that provide the benefits of coordinated decision making while preserving the independence required for creativity and innovation. Context Electronic Arts Inc. is a leading global interactive entertainment software company. Recently EA underwent a transformation like it had never experienced before. Triggers Navigating through EA’s recent transformation required EA leaders, managers, and employees to find new way of working together. Key Innovations & Timeline 3. Benefits & Metrics