What is perhaps significant or different about an organization designed to be a Creative Hive? Certainly such an environment is a fertile petri dish for creative expression, multi-vantage observation and unrelenting problem-solving. Two of the primary nutrients are:
1) explicit respect and value for every person's thinking
2) multi-directional information directing thinking, submissions, reviews and acceptance or rejection
Since Creative Hive percolates abundant thoughts from all possible sources, it also inherently understands that all ideas, expressions and concerns do not merit action. Thus it has a design to enjoy a high degree of stochastic resonance. That is, the Creative Hive has ways and means to effectively and efficiently "separate the signal from the noise." Or you might say, "separate the valued wheat from the less useful chaff" from its percolating supply of creative expression (as does a bee hive).
There are many components in a Creative Hive which are unified into a productive synthesis. Some are idiosyncratic for the organization's unique circumstances, while other elements appear to be rather universal. Below are what I now believe to be a few of the key defining universal components of a sustainable Creative Hive:
1. Leadership offering appropriate attention to innovation; expecting innovation from throughout the workforce, at all levels and in all quarters; and is an active sponsor of innovative culture. It is rare that sustainable innovation will be ultimately any greater than leadership's vision, operating philosophy and their related establishment of applicable accountabilities, processes and systems that are congruous with enabling optimal innovation. Accepting innovation for many organizations is often unnatural, running counter to short-term forces and the momentum acting upon the organization. Leadership must acknowledge and offer compelling advocacy for widely distributed worker, supplier, customer and user expression and ensure responsiveness to those expressions.
Such leaders appreciate that innovation by its nature is usually bottom-up, organic and emergent in nature, as it arises within the mind of every person. Therefore, they architect an environment optimal for respecting, outfitting, tapping and leveraging each of those minds, without waste or neglect. These leaders place their organization on a relentless pursuit of improvement, learning and leverage of growing knowledge. They will seldom be found to be complacent within any related domain of their organization's core competencies. They possess intellectual curiosity and mental stamina to always propel them in seeking advantages to survival, as well as realizing financial and marketplace victories. They foster authentic expression and communications throughout their organizational, supplier and customer communities (which can be quite difficult to achieve in many situations, particular in the presence of authority or contextual conflicts).
2. A “talent model” displaces the "labor model” in that people are sought for maximum or optimal performance, as opposed to accepted or institutionalized minimum performance. (How else can innovation be harvested unless we seek greater yields from our talent investments, such as by moving away from minimum thresholds of job-based forms of work performance expectations?)
3. To realize peak performance, the organization attends to optimally forming, sustaining and stewarding relationships with each qualified worker, and does so by design. Up-to-date, substantive information exchange offers "relationship guidance" to all parties. In such a relationship, based on reciprocal performance, everyone is accountable for “thinking, speaking and doing.” Work roles are collaborative, based upon a design of reciprocal performance. Work is a we thing!
4. Innovation is a functional requirement within every work role's design. This design is inclusive of continuous improvement and knowledge management, is well-articulated, and based upon explicit agreement between the parties. There is shared acknowledgement that the performance of this (and any function) can only be accomplished by both parties' contributing and being accountable for personal functional performance in these areas.
Both personal and organizational performance related to applicable innovation functions are measured, often by key indicators. Results are further assured by strict compliance measures, as in any other function. Accordingly, within a Creative Hive, innovation is not an optional, sporadic, random, hoped for "peripheral" gain; but rather, personal work role innovation is seen as an essential cause or factor for attaining each work role's targeted yields.
This is best accomplished by work role design through the application of accurate, complete theory, organizing principles and methods (with distributed competencies and a common language for same) for seeking, forming and sustaining such work role relationships. Such work role design addresses the needs and requirements of both parties (displacing limited job descriptions, “one size fits all” HR models, “toss ‘em over the fence" recruiting programs or dictatorial, suffocating management practices. Leadership factors tend to rise in relative importance against management factors. Continuous improvement and related knowledge management are beneficial.
5. Accordingly, wherever work role innovation is seen as a work role function, the organization's responsibilities for innovation are accomplished by diligent attention (as opposed to intention). Attention is directed to these vital areas:
a. Permitting a fertile, nurturing environmental “ambience” for functional innovation to flourish from every person. This includes vigilance to discover, remedy or purge any toxic attitudes, practices, policies and behaviors that may be harmful to innovation. Creative Hives welcome innovation of any type or context from any person and all situations. Creative Hives are sensitized and alert, for they know that all too often some of the ultimately most valuable innovative expressions are found in the "fringes," or may be only whispered once by the "meek."
b. Properly seeding and specifically offering to all targeted minds "precipitating information" so as to provoke creativity in a manner resonating with the organization's desirable tactical and strategic objectives, problems, opportunities or threats. Well-crafted information sparks useful imagination!
c. Putting in place mechanisms to ensure the incoming content of submitted ideas, comments, concerns and alarms are constructed so as to be optimally vetted, understood and considered by the organization. Submissions must be guided so as to accurately resonate with the organizational parameters of need.
d. Localizing and distributing the submission, review and decision processes in an optimal manner for the organization's situations and circumstances. Preferably, front line or contextual talent stewards will be assigned much or all of this responsibility within their roles (through the practice of Relationship Performance™ or Work role Yields Management™ WRYM).
e. Having in place a submissions stratification, vetting, review, collaboration, comment, administration/rights management, knowledge management/archival system. Within Creative Hives such a system is known as innovation content management™ (ICM). Effective processes combined with ICM mechanisms should advance the efficacy of submission review, feedback, collaboration and acceptance. Note: TalentSphere's Innovation Harvester™ is an ICM example.
f. Diversity of thought, experiences and interests within a gender-, age- and culturally-balanced community are not only respected, but purposely sought and celebrated, even when inherently frustrating (due to inherent contention, debate, decision-making and management challenges).
g. Key indicator metrics and compliance means for each of the above are in place, monitored and attended with timely action.
h. Before making decisions or taking actions, contextual understanding is sought with ample humility. A quest for root causes and/or evidence trumps any comfort to be found in assumptions, prejudices or dogma. Few things are better for attaining stochastic resonance, regulating attention and establishing innovation submission vetting priorities than seeking a reliable understanding of the underlying realities, forces and influences that are acting on the organization.
All Rights Reserved, TalentSphere LLC