process

Six factors toward innovation

Six factors toward innovation

November 20, 2015

Innovation isn’t just a buzzword…it’s an imperative of survival in our rapidly changing world. In fact, our friend Peter Drucker had this to say on the importance of innovation: “Business has only two functions — marketing and innovation.” Because we see the body as the most appropriate metaphor for leadership and management, it’s led us to create a list of six important factors that bring organizations toward (or away) a culture of innovation. Purpose. Organizations that involve change and innovation in their “why” are naturally set up to pursue innovation. Values and cultural norms. If your organization values diversity of opinion as well as taking risk, you’re more likely to innovate. Flow of information. Is your business’s knowledge easily collected and shared to others? To the degree it is, it’ll be easier for you to innovate. Diversity of thought and experience.Tough problems call for unique solutions and unique solutions come from diverse backgrounds. Financial model. This is rarely discussed, but […]

Innovation: it’s better when it’s done together

November 20, 2015

Every month that we are preparing for blog posts and podcasts, Justin and I meet with a group of executives and leaders who are currently in organizations of various sizes. We bring a topic to the table, and open up a discussion about whatever we are working on that month. This month we brought up the topic of “we are better when we innovate together”. One of the members of our group immediately chimed in: “You seem to have the uncanny ability of bringing up whatever our company is working on right now.” Another female executive agreed, and they began to talk about how their companies each have different innovation systems to bring new products and services online, and she, too, spent many hours virtually and face to face working with cross-functional teams innovating together through various phases of the process. These two women are representative of the pressure on companies in the “innovate or be disrupted” environment. It reminds […]

Sharing Together

Sharing Together

November 18, 2015

I had a big “Aha” moment early on that motivated much of what I am now doing in connecting the early church, and its model as the body of Christ, and the activity of younger generations today around me. The early church’s model of “sharing everything together” was exactly what I saw the younger generation doing as they moved into the workplace. What especially grabbed me was the fact that the young people outside the church were much more involved with this behavior than I was, or other people around my group of Christians. Let me explain. In Acts 4 we read this about the early experience of the church as it begins to grow together: “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s […]

The Synergy of Teams

The Synergy of Teams

October 24, 2015

If there is one theme that is all over the business networks today, it is the word collaboration. Collaborative tools of all kinds are being developed by a vast majority of companies, which could be as simple as a company intranet to global interdependent supply chains and therefore worldwide cross-functional teams and divisions. The question is why now? One reason is multi-national suppliers of resources. A Starbucks cup of coffee and the cup is sourced from 13 countries. Improving customer satisfaction such that there is one unified customer contact, and not being transferred to ten different people in the same organization. Another is innovation, which requires many different internal and external  perspectives to genuinely stay cutting edge in the ever changing competitive landscape. Today, most companies are service-oriented, and offering solutions to customer’s problems requires breaking down silos and working interdependently. That said, many of us have two bad memories floating around in our head when the word collaboration is […]

Change: It’s Crazy Out There

Change: It’s Crazy Out There

October 10, 2015

One of the largest forces that influences all business people today is change. In my lifetime, change started as something that was to be avoided if possible. Then, change initiatives came along but they had to be signed off by many people in the organization. Next came the urgency for vision and leadership to change through strategy and operational processes. About the time when the internet was introduced, change had become a constant, and some large existing organizations became “dinosaurs” and were being out-competed by nimble startup’s or more adaptable organizations. Today, however, the ever-present rapid change is accelerating all the time, and business must find ways to respond. Even the “expert” on change said in an interview that changing organizations is changing. John Kotter who wrote about change in large organizations, and is one of the world’s leaders in change management: “In the macro sense, the biggest thing happening today is that the rate of change continues to increase, […]

Factors that Allow for (Effective) Collective Intelligence

Factors that Allow for (Effective) Collective Intelligence

October 5, 2015

We recently had an opportunity to visit with our friends at The Barnabas Group, who is an organization devoted to helping pair up ministry organizations with the knowledge of local leaders. These organizations come to the organization with a need and local business community members brainstorm solutions and volunteer to help on the spot. We were amazed at how the business community quickly ideated innovative solutions to very difficult problems in this kind of forum. It got us thinking… If creating collective intelligence is so important, what then are the keys to success? What are common barriers? In another post, we wrote about the five core dimensions to collective intelligence. From our POV, these are the fundamentals that allow collective intelligence to emerge. But it’s more nuanced than that and it’s worth discussing additional factors that are critical to success. In our experience (and what we witnessed largely via The Barnabas Group event), here’s a list of factors that lead […]

Five Dimensions to Collective Intelligence

Five Dimensions to Collective Intelligence

October 2, 2015

We talk a lot about the “collective” here. In fact, we named ourselves after it. And it’s because we firmly believe that all of us are better than one of us. That being said, I think many of us have had experiences where we witnessed the opposite happening – more of us was actually worse than one of us. Why does that happen? That question has led me to understand the importance of five primary dimensions that allow collective intelligence to successfully emerge. Technology. These are the tools we use to store and share knowledge. Wikis, social nets, task management systems, are good examples. When people discuss collective intelligence, they are often talking about tools at this level. But tools alone won’t get it done. Rituals. These are the interactions between team members that allow knowledge to flow and transfer. Things like after-action reviews (“post-mortems”) and Knowledge Cafes are examples. Said another way, this is the “people working with people” […]

What if the problem you face is nobody’s fault?

What if the problem you face is nobody’s fault?

February 5, 2014

The most unlikely consulting contract I have ever embarked on started with nearly a shouting match between me and the Board of Directors. They had asked me to review the situation, and make a proposal to work with them to solve their crises. Essentially, half the Board had decided they had enough grievances against the CEO that they were ready to firm him tomorrow. The other half felt long term loyalty to him because he had built the organization from scratch and almost single handily had made it into the large successful institution it was today. After reviewing many parts of the situation, I suggested to them that the root of the problems they were facing had very little to do with the CEO, and much more to do with the system and processes they created to lead the organization. I pointed to a stage of organizational life where the systems and processes of operating the company must go through […]