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Learning myths, millennials and qualities of open innovators


Here’s our latest dose of creative inspiration from the interwebs…

NBBJ’s data-led architecture
The environment we work in has a significant effect on rates of productivity and overall wellbeing, and some companies are going much further than others to achieve the perfect working environment. Seattle-based architecture firm NBBJ has worked with Samsung, Google and Amazon, and this Wired article showcases some of their most striking projects. According to the article, NBBJ “has become the go-to firm in the tech world by thinking like the industry it serves. It still does beauty and grandeur, but it backs them up with data.” Thanks to advances in fields such as neuroscience, psychology, and anthropology and a massive increase in cheap computing power, they can trace every possible path of movement, creating complete models of how a building will work.

Diagnosing work conflict
From the design of the working environment, to conflicts within. In Most Work Conflicts Aren’t Due to Personality Ben Dattner discusses the natural instinct to create simplistic reasons for conflict, rather than working out the root cause. He suggest it goes beyond simplistic branding of each other, such as “he’s a micromanager” or “I’m spontaneous” and that solving the conflict requires addressing the underlying causes. ‘Treatment with superficial or inaccurate diagnostic categories can be just as bad. To solve conflict, you need to find, diagnose and address the real causes and effects — not imaginary ones.”

Wedell-Wedellsborg on directing innovation
Business leaders need to focus on “directing innovation” in their organisations and creating a culture where thinking innovatively is “business as usual” for everyone, not just ‘creatives’, according to innovation expert Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg, whose model for innovation focuses on 6 behaviours:

  1. Focus the search
  2. Connect people
  3. Tweak the process (starting with small steps)
  4. Select systemically
  5. Stealthstorm the organisation (letting small groups of people break the rules and operate under the radar via ‘subversive innovation’)
  6. Persist in the pursuit

Millennials unprepared for leadership
According to research by Deloitte, only 36 percent of millennials who are currently in leadership positions felt prepared when they assumed the role. Even after being in the role, 30 percent still did not feel that they were ready. Therefore, in order to prepare this group to succeed, companies must support them with stretch assignments, mentorship, and investment in learning and development (L&D). The best L&D programs cater to millennials, who are accustomed to having instant access to information, prefer to communicate electronically, while thriving in workplaces that are flat and collaborative.

Qualities of open innovators
Nesta and friends of CH 100%Open have been working with 10 UK charities to explore ways of opening up their working practices to encourage open innovation. In doing so they have come up with a helpful list of 8 ways to identify someone who is trying to make change happen in a company. The open innovator:

  1. is resilient: Keeps on persevering when adversity strikes. Doesn’t take criticism to heart but instead uses it to improve ideas
  2. breaks the rules: just because something is done in a particular way now; why should it always be like that?
  3. embraces technology: is keen to learn and try using new technology to improve or disrupt existing ways of doing things
  4. demonstrates bravery: a person who can show their weaknesses and doubts when trying something new is taking personal risk and showing bravery by example
  5. shares risk and reward: embraces working with partners to jointly take measured risks and to share rewards fairly
  6. looks forward: is always keen to see the bigger picture and move forward with that in mind instead of focusing on regrets
  7. prototypes: uses ways of testing out ideas before they are fully invested in financially or reputationally
  8. nurtures new ideas: provides support and cover for colleagues and staff to test ideas before revealing them to others.

Debunking learning myths
We love learning almost as much as we love creativity, so we were interested to read of three myths about how your brain learns, debunked. The myths tackled are:

  1. We Learn Best When Teaching Is Tailored To Our Learning Style
  2. Some People Are Left-Brained, Some People Are Right-Brained
  3. __ Will Make You Smarter

Also in learning, we’re big fans of learning by doing. But equally important is learning by thinking, as this Farnam Street summary on the role reflection plays in learning points out.

Some more things we enjoyed reading recently:
Stephen Fitzpatrick: Taking on the big six energy firms
Inspiring Creativity – A Liberatum film presented by illy
Can design, architecture and engineering influence behavioural outcomes?
The slow and steady global race for growth
Deep Dive: the secret weapon for innovation

Image courtesy NBBJ

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