Published on November 30, 2013
+genius Innovation Culture In an extract from his book “Creative Genius: The Innovation Handbook for Business Leaders” Peter Fisk looks at how to develop an innovative culture. IBM recently published a blueprint for the next generation of business, “The Enterprise of the Future”. It is a business defined by its culture rather than structure or sector, a business that it is adaptive to unprecedented change, relentless competition, and unreasonable expectations. It has five defining characteristics: Hungry for change: change is fast and effective, not just responding to trends, but shaping and leading them, seizing discontinuities and market shifts as opportunities to redefine the rules, and outplay the competition. Innovative beyond customer imagination : it surpasses the expectations of demanding customers, through deep collaborative relationships that allow it to surprise customers, and find innovations for mutual success Globally integrated: taking advantage of global economics, the business is able to access the best capabilities, knowledge and assets from wherever they reside in the world and apply them wherever they are required.
+genius Disruptive by nature: it radically challenges its business model, disrupting the basis of competition, shifting the value proposition, overturning traditional approaches as opportunities arise, reinventing itself or its entire industry Genuine, not just generous: going beyond philanthropy and compliance, its actions reflect a genuine concern for society, with customers and employees, suppliers and partners, in local communities or global environment. Creative workstyles We live in very different world from the nine-to-five corporate man. The one who succeeded by fitting in, keeping his head down, playing the game. Sitting in hour-long meeting after hour-long meeting, mostly talking about agendas and minutes, rather than anything of substance. He (he was a he) was like all the others, and that gave them comfort. A slave to the 12 month planning cycle, and the performance metrics. They didn’t like diversity or change, challenge or tension. They were in the company for life, motivated more than anything else by their pension. Is it really healthy for people to follow the rules? Do all those endless meetings help or hinder us? What if it was 20 not 60 minutes? Is a pension really an aspiration that drives young people to great work? Don’t we want as many different and interesting people as possible? “I choose to work on Tuesdays to Fridays, because it suits my social life. On waking I check my inbox and schedule, take the kids to school, then arrive around at the local business hub at around 0930. I wear T shirts and trainers some days, but others might be a shirt and suit. I spend time with the team, talking over priorities, new ideas and last night’s sports results. I head to the gym at 1200, followed by lunch round the kitchen table with my personal performance coach. The afternoon is spent with customers, working on my personal projects, or building new international partnerships. At 1700 I have a video-chat with project colleagues in Bangalore and Tallin, then ensure my shopping has been delivered to my car downstairs. On the way home I catch up with my CEO letting her know about my latest investment decisions, and arrive in time for dinner. Later I spend a few hours logged into my social network, exploring my new business venture, leaving just enough time for an episode of Lost then bed”. Creative workplaces are never perfectly structured and spotlessly clean. Walk into IDEOs offices and there are gadgets and gizmos littering every surface, music in the corridors and bikes hanging from the ceiling. Traditional organisations Innovative organisations Hierarchical Specialist functions Bureaucratic Flat Task-based project teams Protected from bureactracy
+genius Operating units Controlled hierarchically Strategic planning Promotion and bonuses Power and status Recruited based on need Encourage conformity Process defined Project managed Flexible planning Autonomy and recognition Shared equity Recruit for ideas and attitude Encourage diversity The creative business looks and works differently. They move from hierarchy to meritocracy, from beuracracy to autonomy. Instead of anonymous they are familiar, not clean but messy, less about experts and more about tinkerers. Prof Theresa Amabile at Harvard Business School suggests five characteristics which support creativity in the workplace 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Encouragement, in particular through open flows of information Freedom, autonomy in day to day tasks, sense of personal ownership Resources, the expertise, tools and materials to explore new things Pressure, push and pull, in the form of both challenge and expectation Impediments, the need to overcome barriers, typically organisational Google gave new meaning to bringing home into the workplace, the worklifestyle. Arrive at Mountain View and you can enjoy three free meals every day in any of their gourmet restaurants. You can work on any project you like. You can take as much time off as you want. You get to busk with Sergey and Larry every so often. You get the latest cool product leases before anyone else. There are even new t-shirts twice a week. The story across at Genentech’s campus, or at P&G in Cincinatti, and at Microsoft Campus is Redwood is very similar – or they hope better, as they are all in competition for the same great people, less defined by physical skills, more defined by who they are. It’s not just about money. That’s too rational. It’s about engaging people emotionally too. It’s about being part of something - both in the sense of a sharing in a cause that will transform society, and in being a member of a high energy, high performing community Today people want to be happy. The pursuit of corporate happiness sounds a little too soft and cuddly for a high performance workplace. “HAPIE” also stands for Humble – leadership that is genuine, personal, inclusive, and inspirational Adaptive – employees are enthusiastic, creative and embrace change Profit – all stakeholders all share in value creation for mutual benefit Invigorated – people are energised by a shared and compelling purpose
+genius Engaged – there is a genuine sense of team, citizenship and community At the Infosys Technologies campus in Mysore, India, the story is the same. Thousands email in their applications to share the new Indian middle-class dream. The tech leader is incredibly people centred, big on learning, big on support, big on benefits. You might think that this is the land of the limitless, low paid workforce. Not so. Infosys’ campus is dominated by a huge white dome – not the reception, the executive suite - but four food courts surrounding a 96 bedroom employee hotel. A state of the art gym, pool hall and bowling alley run alongside. In Shanghai the competition for talent is even more fierce – the local managing director of Cisco, for example, maintains a huge map behind his desk with red dots reflecting each worker – not their task or performance, but where they live, so that he can schedule more shuttle busses – and thereby make Cisco the nearest, easiest place to work The stories of corporate “theme parks” are endless – gaming rooms, nap stations, media lounges, good-old bean bags and bikes on the walls - but it’s not just about sociability and wellbeing. So what really energises an organisation? Stanton Marris specialise in helping companies to build organisational energy that drives engagement and performance. They use a simple five-step approach: Being open: sharing the big strategic challenges with everyone Opening up: seeking suggestions from all stakeholders Letting go: giving local teams the freedom to contribute Being supportive: showing continuous and consistent interest Maintaining focus: monitoring progress and holding on to the big picture. Sounds obvious? Of course it is, although not necessarily to a manager of the 20th century. Jack Welch would be squirming in his spreadsheets. Some more of the factors that bring creative organisations to life, that create an enduring buzz inside and out, include Personal and flexible - everything from role and benefits to working hours and location Partners and networks – stimulating and extending ideas by tapping into the outside world Trust and empowerment - few rules, no time sheets, asking for forgiveness not permission
+genius Flat and accessible – decisions are not by hierarchy, anybody can talk to anybody anytime Team and collaborative – sharing challenge and rewards, sparing and sparking with others Resources and tools – the best tools for the job, be it computers. Phones or stationary. Learning and support - work and personal interests, with peer partnering and mentoring Health and well-being – healthy buildings, food and fitness, lots of rest and medics on tap The workstyle will evolve quickly – with the best talent taking ownership of their employment, and developing portfolios of work, jumping across sectors and functions, from healthcare to technology, from marketing to finance. The best talent is infinitely transferable. Virtual talent networks will form to pursue their common interests and collectively negotiate the most interesting, most valuable projects. Organisations need to rethink many of the factors which created their old glue, and start working in faster, knowledge-based, connected ways themselves. Ferrari ... Recreating the spirit of Enzo in Maranello In 1919 an Italian muleskinner decided to follow his real passion for cars, and became a test driver for the small, Milan-based car manufacturer, Costruzioni Meccaniche Nazionali. A decade later, he was ready to start his own business founded the company that would go on to produce the world’s best racing cars, and most desirable sports cars. Today, Enzo Ferrari’s name is synonymous with speed, glamour and performance. From Monte Carlo to Monza, the world’s F1 Grand Prix circuit is defined by the red cars with the prancing horse logo,that lead the snake of manufacturers around the winding circuits. They win more often than any other, the car of choice of world champions. However a new award sits alongside all the Formula 1 trophies and other accolades that the company has won over the last 60 years, an award that Enzo would probably be as more proud of than any Grand Prix win. This award is not based on superior technologies and engineering. It is based on how it manages and inspires its 3000 people. In 2001, the company’s president, Luca di Montezemolo launched “Formula Uomo” - not a new generation of racing cars, or highly tuned engines, but an
+genius internal initiative to improve the lives and work of Ferrari people. A budget of Є200 million was allocated to the project, news of which had a significant impact on employee morale in itself. The project took its inspiration from the company’s racing ambitions and successes. Ferrari recognised that if it wanted to keep its position at the front of the F1 championship – where 1/1000th of a second can determine winners from losers – and which then directly effects the desirability and perceived worth of its retail vehicles – it had to be at the forefront of work practices and performance too. “Formula Uomo” covers three basic areas: workplaces and structures, professional training and international growth, and personal and family benefits. It is designed to put people at the heart of Ferrari’s business and its future, seeking to enhance the broader “human capabilities” of employees at all levels, and in particulate to stimulate creativity across the business. Some of the benefits relate directly to the outside world, offering participation in company events such as the “Finali Mondiali” and the unveilings of new cars, VIP seats at the various Grand Prix, sports groups and discounts with many different third parties. Personal services include medical check-ups for employees and their children, specialist preventative medicine and well-being programmes 88% of all employees now participate in new ongoing training activities, all of which are voluntary, some in traditional formats, and others more informal. Employees can start their day improving their language skills with english@breakfast (there is also @lunch and @tea if they miss the early morning start). Other languages are offered too, and are free for anybody to join. Meanwhile, the Creative Club is one of the most popular initiatives - bringing together an eclectic mix of painters and sculptors, musicians and writers, DJs and actors to introduce new skills, new perspectives - encouraging people to think more radically and innovatively. Senior managers and engineers, sales people and warehouse people, they all come along to learn about the world of sculpture, or talk about the big issues in life with the nightclub DJ. It breaks down the barriers, and gets curious and thinking differently, and collaborating in new ways. There is no facilitation, no forced connections between the world of hip-hop and finely tuned engines. Translating the new energy and behaviors back into a work context is natural, particularly when the subject matter of Ferrari is the stuff of normal people’s dreams. However it is the new buildings that really symbolise the new spirit of Ferrari. Employees can now live in the magic kingdom day and night if they want, with the development of Maranello Village, a high-specification housing complex
+genius exclusively for staff. Situated only 4km from the factory, the two are connected, perhaps oddly for Ferrari, by a bicycle path. Each Ferrari home (there are 22 studios, 42 two-bedroom and 58 three-bedroom flats) comes fully furnished, not completely in red. The village also has a fitness centre, wonderful restaurant and an impressive bar. And of course there is plenty of indoor and outdoor parking for those specially priced and highly prized cars. In 2007 the transformed and high performing world of Ferrari was voted Europe’s Best Place to Work, and yet again they won the F1 championship too. © Peter Fisk 2013 Peter Fisk is a global branding, marketing and innovation expert. He is founder and CEO of the Genius Works, the accelerated innovation firm. He is a business advisor, speaker, and best-selling author of six books including People Planet Profit, Creative Genius, and Gamechangers to be published in 2014. For more about this book, explore www.CreativeGeniusLive.com For more about Peter, go to www.theGeniusWorks.com
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