Doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result, is one of the informal definitions of absurdity — and insanity. Yet many businesses and leaders do just that. They repeat what they’ve always done, year after year, even as agile competitors swoop into their markets and blow up old business models.
Google, Amazon, Apple — all have turned on their heads the old ways of getting things done, and the search engines, bookstores and computer consumer electronics companies blindsided by the innovation have fallen by the wayside. These aren’t one-trick ponies, either: These are innovative companies in the truest sense, and their success stems from their innovations and their cultures of innovation, whose manifestations reflect their leaders’ styles.
Steve Jobs is the poster child here. Steve’s ego-driven personality and top-down leadership style not only led to the creation of amazing products, but also showed the power of genius deftly applied within a global organization. But did Jobs’ style really support crowd-sourced creativity? I don’t think so — due to ego issues perhaps — but I do think that his model is repeatable for leaders who are open to listening, intently, to every level in their organization for the best solutions.
Look at the software technology sector. Even companies as seemingly old school and blue-chip as IBM are turning to crowd-sourcing to kick-start innovation, and they’re using social media, open office workspaces and executive development programs stressing meditation, collaboration and mindfulness over corporate structures created to preserve and amplify the power and voice of a few personalities.
It’s really very exciting to be part of this movement. We are experiencing an innovation revolution, courtesy of the worldwide open workplace. While it’s hard to see how an executive with a healthy dose of ego can be persuaded to see alone time as a leadership move, the power of social or workplace community cannot be denied. And modern and futuristic workplaces, with their emphases on open-plan, collaborative work spaces, are reinvigorating employees and turning up the creativity and innovation quotients in many industries threatened by agile outsiders.
How can leaders cultivate environments that foster good ideas, allowing and encouraging them to bubble to the top and be implemented quickly — by anyone and everyone? To catch the innovation wave, we’re dedicating this week’s #TChat to an exploration of open, shared-space offices; the relationship between a leader’s emotional intelligence and innovation; nurturing innovation in global, virtual teams; and the value of alone time and meditation to innovation.
Here are some of the questions we’ll be discussing:
Q1: Why is the open, shared-space office the new workplace culture craze?
Q2: Ego-driven top-down leadership with vision is conducive to crowd-sourced creativity. True or False and why?
Q3: Does emotional intelligence play a role in innovative, open workplaces? Why or why not?
Q4: Is alone time vital to innovative creativity? Why or why not?
Q5: How can innovative creativity blossom in virtual, global teams?
So please join us Wednesday night, April 11, from 7-8 pm ET (6-7 pm CT, 4-5 pm PT, or wherever you are) to talk about the innovation in the workplace at #TChat. I’ll be your moderator (@MeghanMBiro) and will be joined by @KevinGrossman as we look at emotional intelligence, innovation, crowdsourcing and open-office environments. Working the back channel to field and ponder your many tweets will be KC Donovan, Sean Charles, Salima Nathoo and Maren Hogan. We look forward to chatting!