What We Talk About When We Talk About Creative Environments

Our professional environment is changing from one with an algorithmic task-based focus to one that both requires and values agile and heuristic thinking: innovative market disruption is driving the need for a more creative mindset from employees. The challenge for organisations, and for their leaders and managers, is how to create and maintain workplace environments … Continue reading “What We Talk About When We Talk About Creative Environments”

Too late for a 2014 Resolution?

So what will put the ‘New’ into ‘New Year’? And what might stop that happening, leaving us living through “2013 – The Sequel”? The first barrier is probably risk: creativity and innovation isn’t a guarantee of success, even if an absence of them might speed up the process of failure. In an environment where resources remain tight, and may continue to do so, a reduced appetite for risk is understandable. But risk is fundamental to success: ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’ may be a cliché but it’s also a truism, and risk is one of the major food groups in any organisation’s diet.

So what will put the ‘New’ into ‘New Year’? And what might stop that happening, leaving us living through “2013 – The Sequel”? The first barrier is probably risk: creativity and innovation isn’t a guarantee of success, even if an absence of them might speed up the process of failure. In an environment where resources remain tight, and may continue to do so, a reduced appetite for risk is understandable. But risk is fundamental to success: ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’ may be a cliché but it’s also a truism, and risk is one of the major food groups in any organisation’s diet.

Mental and Physical Rooms: removing obstacles for your creatives

Where and how we work are closely related to each other, and impact similarly closely on our outputs. Job design – how the content and structure of what we do during the day optimise opportunities, play to and extend our strengths or avoid problems further down the line – is often a topic of HR and L&D debate. Yet the environments in which these jobs play out are often given less attention: the design of ‘the workplace’ – one of the most over-used words of our time? – is often seen as having moved from being an issue that either still belongs in the estates and facilities remit, or which is now influenced by an idea of branding: office design as visual branding.

Where and how we work are closely related to each other, and impact similarly closely on our outputs. Job design – how the content and structure of what we do during the day optimise opportunities, play to and extend our strengths or avoid problems further down the line – is often a topic of HR and L&D debate. Yet the environments in which these jobs play out are often given less attention: the design of ‘the workplace’ – one of the most over-used words of our time? – is often seen as having moved from being an issue that either still belongs in the estates and facilities remit, or which is now influenced by an idea of branding: office design as visual branding.

Process: Safety blanket or wet blanket?

There are a fair few tropes that remain perpetual battlegrounds in the world of L&D, HR and OD: profits vs people as an over-riding focus and talent’s opposing ‘nature’ vs. ‘nurture’ battalions spring immediately to mind. One of the more abstract of these perennial topics is the divide between process and creativity – or perhaps … Continue reading “Process: Safety blanket or wet blanket?”

Conventional wisdom? Meet a real maverick …

Close to ASK’s heart is Ricardo Semler’s insistence on a critical question: “why?”. And not just asking it at every available opportunity, but asking it three times. The first to get the rehearsed answer, the second to start the process of fresh thinking in the questionee, and the third to push the new thinking forward. (In an extract from his second book, The Seven Day Weekend, at inc.com, I was amused to see him draw the same parallel with four year olds as we did here some years ago – although we obviously forgot the motivational power of ice-cream.)

Close to ASK’s heart is Ricardo Semler’s insistence on a critical question: “why?”. And not just asking it at every available opportunity, but asking it three times. The first to get the rehearsed answer, the second to start the process of fresh thinking in the questionee, and the third to push the new thinking forward. (In an extract from his second book, The Seven Day Weekend, at inc.com, I was amused to see him draw the same parallel with four year olds as we did here some years ago – although we obviously forgot the motivational power of ice-cream.)

All work and no play: how to strangle innovation

HRZone recently published an interesting article by Emma Littmoden, partner at The Living Leader, called Can HR devise rules that stimulate not stifle innovation? A question that begged for a response – possibly a fairly abrupt one – from the organisational equivalent of ‘the cheap seats’, I thought, so it’s lack of comments so far comes as a surprise. Perhaps everyone else’s HR departments have issued memos banning employees from posting comments at HRZone? But, to answer Emma Littmoden’s rhetorical question, an HR team that’s aware that innovation needs stimulating within its organisation might want to consider talking to the managers rather than just revising the rules for the employees. It might be not the rules that need changing, but the nature and culture of the game.

HRZone recently published an interesting article by Emma Littmoden, partner at The Living Leader, called Can HR devise rules that stimulate not stifle innovation? A question that begged for a response – possibly a fairly abrupt one – from the organisational equivalent of ‘the cheap seats’, I thought, so it’s lack of comments so far comes as a surprise. Perhaps everyone else’s HR departments have issued memos banning employees from posting comments at HRZone? But, to answer Emma Littmoden’s rhetorical question, an HR team that’s aware that innovation needs stimulating within its organisation might want to consider talking to the managers rather than just revising the rules for the employees. It might be not the rules that need changing, but the nature and culture of the game.