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Boosting Corporate Creativity

There is a critical need of every business today: leveraging creativity. There are not “hocus-pocus” solutions how to develop, nurture and manage models for sustained innovation. One thing is certain issue in a process of boosting corporate creativity: It is not one-man show. Collaboration must be embedded into corporate culture as a way to foster ideas, inventions and innovations of products, services and processes.

One self-evident starting point for boosting corporate creativity is the following: Creative people make innovative organizations. If there are no creative persons and change agents inside an organization, this kind of organization never will be innovative.

Too often organizations and corporations want have average persons with average abilities and teams. Going beyond the average with high level of diversity is seen to be too dangerous and risky in many corporations.

Uniform business culture is seen safer than more individual and proactive business culture. Many managers and leaders want to be inside their “safety zones”. However, we really need unique products and services to be competitive in the markets of hyper-competition. There is not too much fresh thinking in organizations and corporations. Sometimes our wrong self-images, rigid self-esteems and self-punishment mechanisms prevent us to innovate. In corporations we must destroy the barriers to get new ideas.

Too uniform approaches do not help us to make a difference. Infinite possibility awaits those willing, able, and prepared to make the journey to creativity and innovations. We must be brave to explore and exploit new possibilities. First we do it in our imaginations, then with our technology, and finally through our direct action and experience. Creating new ideas and innovations is inherently fun, but also necessary. People need muscles, but they need also big creative muscles and strong brain power.

How to boost creativity in the corporate world? It is possible to present 10 principles to boost creativity:

  1. Develop many new channels and sources for new ideas and inventions.
  2. Make barriers to getting new ideas as low as possible.
  3. Collect many ideas with predictable, directional and surprising ways and evaluate them with collaborative models and co-creative ways.
  4. Implement ideas and inventions. Test and pilot ideas and inventions.
  5. Develop a broad understanding of innovation management and creative thinking.
  6. Identify blocks to creative thinking and the skills individuals can use – and managers can foster to increase creative responses.
  7. Use knowledge and intuition based methods to get fresher ideas and solutions more often.
  8. Allow a personal creative drive and innovation flow which will help people to achieve their personal and professional goals.
  9. Create creativity programs for individuals to improve their creative abilities inside the corporation.
  10. Motivate and give value to creativity and new ideas. Create an effective incentive system, which motivatescreative thinking, inventors and innovations.

Organizations need also bohemian game changers. They never settle for average performance. They know that you can perform a task better this time than you performed it in previous times. With any task you set your mind to, always give it your best. They have stopped living their life in a routine calendar system.

Mediocrity mentality will never help your organization to big success. It will do damage in the material as well as in your spiritual life. Only doing enough to get by is considered mediocrity, not excellency. Mediocrity is dangerous for creativity and destroying innovation activities. Mediocrity is ordinariness as a consequence of being average and not outstanding. Mediocrity refers to a person of second-rate ability. The individuals that practice mediocrity take on its characteristics, which is inferiority and inadequacy.

Bureaucracy and too formal administration mechanisms can also destroy innovation activity inside organization.

To boost creativity is a big possibility for all the corporations. There is need to take creativity seriously and develop systemic strategic thinking and actions in favor of creativity and innovative organization.

Index

1 Creativity

Gardner, H. (1993) Creating Minds. New York: Basic Books.

Mauzy, J. & Harriman, H. (2002) Creativity Inc. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business School.

2 Corporate creativity

Lockwood, T. & Walton, T. (2008) Corporate Creativity. Developing an Innovative Organization. New York: Allworth Press.

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Cultural Mediocrity and Bohemians as Change Makers of Organizational Cultures

Bohemian persons are often feeling otherness, and often they feels they are in some way misunderstood. A bohemian, who do not fit the typical “average” category, has many challenges and problems, because this “average” category is considered in many organizations the only right category. Many talented people have to deal with the fringes of society in order to realize their dreams and visions.

In many cases bohemians are neglected because of “work place democracy”. However, we know that the limitations of democracy lie in the moral, and even spiritual, quality of the electorate. A democracy is as good as its people and tends to promote a moral and cultural mediocrity. One paradox of today is that modern democratic society seems to be characterized by a rising tide of trivia and empty entertainment. Ordinary citizens may want more, but also bohemians want more, much more.

For many organizations it is typical that they allow the bold thinking only in specific circumstances. Courage to break with can be taken in general in the context of “development Days”, “creativity workshops” or “spring assembly events”. On other days of a year bohemian experts will be “hippies”, “nerds” and “persons with propeller hats”. They are the ones all other in the “organizational chart” can laugh at good will. For a bohemian it is typical that they are not taken particularly seriously or other experts underestimate their performances.

When one talks about bohemians, there are often presented different characterizations of a bohemian person. Typical classifications for bohemians are:

• The diversity of competences,
• spontaneity,
• robustness
• living in the moment,
• artistry,
• ambivalence, and ambivertism,
• the ability to be inspired,
• vagary,
• angularity,
• roughness, and
• a strong character.

These characterizations are certainly in the right direction to characterize the bohemian tribe. In the reality, however, bohemians can be found from very different social and ethnic origins. Bohemians may be both men and women, as well as a bohemian can also be found in different age groups. Actually, there is no single psychological standard definition for the bohemian people. Bohemians are special kinds of people who also want emphasize the specificity of their own.

Bohemian man can be extroverted, but there are also inward-looking bohemians, not so expressive. Bohemian people work very often in creative professions and have broad innovative potential of the toughest technical and social applications. Art, science, sports, and economic life are attractive fields of life for bohemians. Bohemians can provide creative contributions to these important areas of life.

A bohemian is a person who is often not suitable for the average person’s profile. Bohemians often want to consciously stand out from the masses and have different social contexts and “tribes”. People see and perceive bohemians usually strange – even the difficult people to handle. The authenticity and the inner voice, listening oneself are important things for bohemians. Bohemian people are generally interested in unconventional ideas and novel practices. They are interested in new ideas, inventions and proposals.

Generally, they are often called to invent and re-invent different policy areas and to be pioneers of new ideas and ideologies.
In many organizations, bohemian life style is a challenge and many organizations have difficulties to rigid adapt organizational systems and relationships to bohemian styles. Many corporate organizations and public sector organizations want – consciously or unconsciously – to recruit – not so bohemian employees, who work quietly to make standards things and projects routinely and in a mechanical way like in old industrial organizations. In the future, these types of people and organizations trying to be mechanic robots and robot societies will be easily substituted with robots and new smart technologies.

Many organizations are also such that bohemians cannot easily present their new ideas and take active initiatives on new challenges. Rigid hierarchies and inflexible organizational silos prevent organizations from obtaining access to the best creative human capital. New, bohemian types of organizations are first facing major challenges to do the right thing. If bohemian personalities are allowed to take creative and new roles and flexible job descriptions, they also tend to engage actively in these roles and job descriptions.

Bohemian persons are able to change schemata in the organizations. Schemata, whether plural of schema, are knowledge structures a person forms from past experiences. Bohemian can create new forms of schemata and reformulate old schemata.

Incentive structures of bohemian organizations are different compared with industrial organizations of Taylorism. “Synthesized workflows” approach of Taylorism is not the right approach to create unique products and services. So called “scientific management” must be reformulated, if we want to keep members of creative class inside the box of scientific management. This challenge is not a small one. We must re-define organizational paradigms, control systems, organizational structures, power structures, symbols, organizational rituals and routines. Even stories and myths of organizations must be re-invented.

For many business organizations would do well to think about it they are able to offer reasonable opportunities for bohemian talents to make a special contribution in their organization. Without re-inventing their organizational systems, leadership patterns and management styles this will be a mission impossible. Why organizational cultures develop in organizations is due to external adaptation and internal integration. Bohemian people play a special role both in external adaptation process and internal integration process. That is why bohemians´ role cannot be neglected in the post-modern organizations. External adaptation reflects an evolutionary approach to organizational culture. Internal integration is an important function since social structures are required for organizations to exist. Thus bohemians are key players from the evolutionary and functional organizational perspectives. Bohemians can create strong cultures inside organizations. The “average approach” leads to weak culture. Weak culture means that there is little alignment with organizational values and control must be exercised through extensive procedures and bureaucracy. Strong culture is said to exist where staff respond to stimulus because of their alignment to organizational values.

If the organization’s culture is too “average oriented” and favors “middle of the road” recruitments, bohemians of the creative class do not offer their unique talents to such organizational structures and cultures. In this old-fashioned organizational culture scenario, they will have to seek new dynamic organizations or start-up their own businesses. General and very typical assumption is that the workers should be as robots. This approch will not help to attract bohemian talents, because they do not want to be like robots. Permissiveness, tolerance and deeper cultural understanding of diversity are important issues for organizations that really want to get top experts and keep them in their organizations.

Index

1 Beyond mediocrity
Web: http://www.dharmalife.com/issue15/comment.html
2 Organizational culture
Web: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organizational_culture
3 Schemata
Mandler, J. M. (1984) Stories, Scripts, and Scenes: Aspects of Schema Theory. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Widmayer, Sharon Alayne (2012) Schema Theory: An Introduction. George Mason University.
Web: http://www.mrjthompson.com/Documents/SchemaTheory.pdf
Web: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schema_(psychology)
4 Organization research
Handy, Charles B. (1976) Understanding Organizations. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Barney, J. B. (1986) Organizational culture: Can it be a source of sustained competitive advantage?. Academy of Management Review, 11(3), pp. 656-665.
Shein, Edgar (1992) Organizational Culture and Leadership: A Dynamic View. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Zhang, Xibao (2009) Values, Expectations, Ad Hoc Rules, and Culture Emergence in International Cross Cultural Management Contexts. New York: Nova Science Publishers.
5 Frederick Winslow Taylor
Web: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Winslow_Taylor
6 Scientific management
Web: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_management

Bohemian X Factor: Bohemians and Future Management of Organizations

Sometimes you hear people say: “That person cannot be lead”. It is very likely that in this case one refers to a slightly bohemian person. Bohemian people are often willful, dissidents, original, differ from ordinary habits, and have many rich ideas. They do not “sit” inside “organization chart” very easily. From the point of management view, they can show themselves be in response “against everything”, with which management team is difficult to get along with. On the other hand, these individuals could have a lot of good ideas and promising novel innovations for different type of organizations.

In societies, there are some evolutionary principles which matter. Especially two evolutionary principles matter. First, there is to be a producer of variety. Secondly, there is a filter of variety. Variability is a key factor of evolution and development. Life is at the transition between order and disorder. This is a critical issue for organizations too. Too structured organization may be problematic, but also too unstructured organization may also be problematic. To manage any kind of organizations, one must pay attention to variability factor.

To be effective, any organization should be composed of different types of people. If your organization is consisting from very similar type of people, it undermines the organization’s efficiency and development capacity. Also productivity of an organization can be much lower than if the organization would have different types of people working in the organization. Rigid group thinking can prevent the organization from implementing changes in the needed operating speed. In this non-optimal case an organization remains inside a comfort zone. No one in this kind of organization is necessarily interested in new development issues and challenges. The members of intellectual elite do not want to work in these kinds of non-dynamic organizations.

Surely it is easy to agree with that all the new challenges and opportunities will live their own lives. These kinds of organizations keep their historical traditions and their good “rituals” and old habits. In this case an organization may become too structured. There are not only “technological lock-ins” but also “social lock-ins”. However, over time, this “rigid structure” management style may become dangerous for an organization, if new ideas and challenges are not seriously discussed inside the organization. Little by little an organization becomes blind to essential changes in their social environments and competitive markets.

How rigid group thinking can be avoided? Perhaps the previously mentioned bohemian people should be taken more seriously? How one should lead them? We know very well that bohemian persons do not like steep hierarchies, nor the rigid line or “silo” organizations. Hierarchical culture, bureaucracy, and rigid organizational boundaries should be avoided, if the intention is to get a Bohemian X Factor serving the organization. Bohemian X Factor helps organizations to take all the real future challenges of change into consideration. Effective change management requires participation of bohemian persons. Dynamics of organizations require that management professionals understand Bohemian X Factor.

Tight authorial orders to bohemian persons do not work in the bohemian organizational culture. In the worst case scenarios of organizations, bohemian people become “mind terrorists” and critical opponents for hierarchical and bureaucratic organization cultures. Wrongly treated bohemians can even attack companies and corporations – in the real life, but also in the social media and in various other Internet environments.

A better mobilization of Bohemian people’s intellectual capital is a very important strategic thing for the organizations of creative class. Often, bohemian people are very goal-oriented. Bohemian people appreciate the creative thinking and real-life problem solving. The active generation of new ideas is important challenge for them. That is why it is important to listen to them carefully. In this case the management emphasizes access to different types of organizations, work cultures and also alternative cultures. The best option would be to have very open mind and also open communication, which is applied for open dialogue and open debate in different social contexts. The variation of opinions matters. Only after these open communicative processes the Bohemian X Factor can get involved in the development of organizations.

“The war for talent.” will not be won without Bohemian X Factor. Thus, a talent management system must be worked into the business strategy and implemented in daily processes throughout the organization as a whole. If bohemian persons are not recognized in business strategies, we can expect problems in the implementation of business strategies. Companies and agencies that engage in talent management are strategic and deliberate in how they attract, select, source, train, develop, retain, promote, and move people through the organization.

It may also be wise to simply delegate new R&D projects to bohemian experts and allow them to perform tasks independently and self-directed. In this case, change management means that leaders find talented people to prepare and implement challenging projects. It might be wise to develop flexible rather than rigid organizational structures, and fast organizations to move on. This approach does not allow firm turfs inside an organization. Leadership role should be a gathering of hot teams and manage these teams.

Already Socrates in ancient Greece taught that the inspiration of poets is an essential form of enthusiasm. Key challenge of bohemian talent management is to produce and keep enthusiasm level as high as possible. If the enthusiasm capital is lost, a lot of intellectual capital is lost inside an organization, but also in a society.

Index

1 Variety
Web: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Variety
2. Bohemian
Web: http://www.wikihow.com/Be-Bohemian
3. Talent management
Web: http://www.taleo.com/researcharticle/what-talent-management
4. Socrates
Vlastos, Gregory (1991). Socrates, Ironist and Moral Philosopher. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
5. Enthusiasm
Web: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enthusiasm

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