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Creative Problem Solving Workshop (B822: Creativity, Innovation & Change)


I had a Swim Plan; the idea worked on several levels.

As a professional swimming coach (squads to Regional & National Standard) I am used to planning many hours or ‘activity’ that in some cases operate within tolerances of PB+/- 5 seconds. i.e. within 5 seconds of their ‘Personal Best Time’. With this exercise I built in +/- 5 minutes with a set of exercises where none lasted longer than 15 minutes.

For the fun of it the group were shown how to scull in a couple of minutes at the start, then how to flutter kick at the end.

I doubt this used up more than 90 seconds in total of a 90 minute CPS workshop.

There were several formal CPS techniques, two quite physical the others more cerebral.

  1. Samurai, Mother-in-law, Tiger
  2. Human Sculpture
  3. Problem Definition
  4. Help/Hinder
  5. Problem Review
  6. Time Line
  7. Advantages, Limites & Unique Qualities

There diverge/converge pattern was followed, though I am glad I came across the idea of ‘clustering’ as this better represented an intermediary phase that occured more than once.

It worked.

I am looking at where to go next with these as being someone who clearly likes being on their feet, directing and coaching (I have directed well over 150 training & information videos in my career, often with actors or large teams) I rather took to the unscripted, guided improvisation that is the lot of the facilitator.

Last Saturday I was a Wembley Arena for the induction of some 10,000 of us ‘Gamesmakers’.

Now that would be a group to facilitate!

REFERENCE

Ackoff, R. “Systems, Messes and Interactive Planning” Portions of Chapters 1 and 2 of Redesigning the Future. New York/London, 1974.

App. I (2011) B822 Tutorial 21 Jan 2012 Guilford

Henry, J (2010) Creative Techniques Library

Henry, J with Martin, J., Bell., R and the B822 Course Team(2010) Book 2 Managing Problems Creatively

Kirton, M.J. (1987) ‘Adaptors and Innovators. Cognitive Style and Personality’. In S.G. Isaksen (ed.), Frontiers of Creativity Research, Buffalo: Bearly Ltd.

Osborn, A.F. (1993) Applied Imagination, Principles and Procedures of Creative Problem Solving (3rd revised edn, 1st edn 1953). Creative Education Foundation Press, Buffalo.

Ritchey, T; (2007) Wicked Problems: Structuring Social Messes with Morphological Analysis, Swedish Morphological Society, last revised 7 November 2007.

Rittel, H (1972) ‘On the planning crisis: systems analysis of the “First and second generations”, Bedriftsokonomen, No. 8, pp. 390-6.

Tassoul, M & Buijs, J (2007) Clustering: An Essential Step from Diverging to Converging. Creativity and Innovation Management. Vol. 16, Number 1.

Wherret, R (2011) B822 Residential School 12th January 2011, Marriott Hotel, Heathrow.

Creative Problem Solving Techniques

24/12/2012

Problem, opportunity, challenge, issue, concern …

I’ve been professionally lodged in calling everything a problem to be solved. I may think this through and stick to this concept. I was introduced to the Creative Brief at JWT, London in the mid 1980s. Through Design & Art Direction (D&AD) workshops, then a year, full-time at the School of Communication Arts the ‘problem’ as the preferred, indeed the only term, was reinforced.

The advertising Creative Brief goes:

What is the problem?

What is the opportunity?

Who are you speaking to?

What do you want to say?

How do you want them to react to this message?

What else do you need to know?

I have seen no reason to change this, indeed some 135+ video productions later, information films, training films, change management, product launch, lecture, you name it … the same set of questions, answered on a SINGLE SIDE of A4 governs the initial client meetings. If we cannot get it onto a single sheet, then we haven’t the focus to deliver a clear response. Back to the drawing board.

It works.

From the agreed Creative Brief I then write a synopsis or two, the ideas are shared and I go off and prepare a treatment or two; I offer alternatives. Then, with agreement on the treatment, based always on how well it lives up to the brief, I go off and write a script. Sometimes the script is visualisation and dialogue (voice over, interviews transcripts even dramatisation), usually very little needs to be changed at this stage; the script is a direct expression of what was agreed in the treatment. We then produce (shoot, post-produce) and review the end result. Once again, a fail-safe process that only sees the product improved upon at each stage.

It works.

So why is this page of this chapter an Epiphany?

I guess, because I know that some clients struggle with the term ‘problem’. I stubbornly refuse to accept an alternative and argue my case. Yet apparently there is a case. Or is there? VanGundy (1988) rightly suggests that

p18 ‘Each of these different terms expresses its own metaphor for what is involved and suggests its own slightly different ways of working’. Henry et al. (2010:18)

To be a problem there needs to be a ‘gap’ between what is desired and the current position. VanGundy (1988:04)

Why would I change what has always worked?

When I bring with my argument decades of experience from the most successful, persuasive and memorable communicators of all? This ‘Creative Brief is an industry standard.

My view is that if there isn’t a problem, there is no need to do x, y or z. Anything less than ‘problem’ diminishes the nature and ambition of the communications challenge (here I argue that internal and external communications, PR, marketing and advertising, are all on the same spectrum: you are trying to persuade people).

Think of problems and solutions as part of an extended hierarchy.

We then get into ‘Gap Analysis’

p19 ‘The imperative that drives creative people can transform the theoretical ‘what could be’ into a more powerfully motivating ‘what should be’.

Then drift away from the challenge when the ‘problem’ is no longer (in my view of things) considered a communications issue.

p24 The problem exists in the overlap between ourselves and the situation … this means that solutions can often be as much a mater of changing ourselves as changing the external situation’.

  1. Change the situation
  2. Change yourself
  3. Get out
  4. Learn to live with it

As an external supplier, a communications problem fixer, then only point 1 can apply, which becomes an argument for the extensive use of external suppliers. Think about it, do you want someone to address the problem/challenge you take to them, or shilly-shally about, making do, dodging it or making themselves absent?

p26 ‘Play’ – the dynamic gap between vision and reality.

Activity 2.1 (p16)

Frustration over having an audio-cassette to listen to. By sharing the problems it was resolved.

Cause: keeping up with the technology

Ans: A problem shared is a problem halved. Ease of relationships.

p17 ‘A densely interconnected part of a huge web of issues and concerns that change and develop over time and may transform radically in appearance depending on your viewpoint’.

Spend a few minutes identifying some of the features of this story that might perhaps generalise to other situations and that:

  • helped to generate the challenge
  • helped to overcome it.

Solving ‘problems’ however, is not as clear-cut as a specific problem relate to communications.

I need more of VanGundy. Is he free from the OU Library? Or even an not too expensive download as an eBook to the Kindle and iPad. Despite admonitions to spend less time reading and more time addressing the practical side of Block 2, I feel I have to read on, to investigate an issue (oops, problem, I mean) that has bugged me for more than 25 years.

REFERENCE

Henry, J., Mayle, D., Bell, R., Carlisle, Y. Managing Problems Creatively (3rd edn) 2010. The Open University.

VanGundy, A.B. (1988) Techniques of structured problem solving (2nd edn), New York: Van Nostran Reinhold.

Precepts

From Ou MBA Module B822 ‘Creativity, Innovation & Change’ BK 2 C6 

Especially actions that DISCOURAGE speculation/creativity Henry (2010:93)

Curiosity Charles Handy (1991) Creativity in management, Radio 1, B822
Forgiveness Charles Handy (1991)
Love Charles Handy (1991)
A sense of direction Schon, D.A. (1983) The Reflective practitioner

Some ‘Set Breakers’ Henry (2010:96)

  • 1. Develop broad background experience and many interests
  • 2. Find and challenge your own blind spots
  • 3. Explore many different perspectives
  • 4. Challenge yourself
  • 5. Develop good browsing facilities
  • 6. Change techniques or different mental modes
  • 7. Seek out people with other points of view

8. In a group

Relevance bias

  • 1. Dry Run
  • 2. Quota of alternatives
  • 3. Inverse optional question
  • 4. Checklist of transformations
  • 5. Reverse the problem
  • 6. Boundary relaxation
  • 7. What difference?
  • 8. Get several people to try it
  • 9. Deep questioning
  • 10. Challenge
  • 11. Fresh eye

6.4 Value of Play

  • 1. Play is key to learning activity
  • 2. The objects of play are both objective and subjective
  • 3. The ability of play helps create the sense of independence.
  • 4. Play offers a protected area of illusion
  • 5. Plays is a way of managing unfulfilled need.
  • 6. Play can lead to a particular state of mind.
  • 7. Play breaks down outside certain emotional limits.
  • 8. Shared play builds relationships

A. Choice of Setting

B. Choice of team members

C. Climate to aim for

D. Don’t demystify

E. Management of coping mechanisms

F. An aid to team building

McCaskey (1988)

  • · Problem finding (experience)
  • · Map building
  • · Janusian Thinking
  • · Controlling and not controlling
  • · Using domain and direction
  • · Planning rather than goal-directed planning
  • · Humour that oils
  • · Charisma
  • · Using ad hoc structures such as task force and project teams
  • · Using a core group embedded in a network of contracts and information
  • · ‘Turbulence management’

N.B. Creativity needs space vs. time pressure, interruption

  • · Create Space

6.8 involve others

The more participants you have, the more ideas you get.

‘Successfully creative people are often deeply committed to a particular domain, that has strong internal significance to them, and they focus very firmly on particular goals’. (e.g. Tessa Ross, Lionel Wigram, William Hague)

‘Passion and persistence can motivate sustained work; attract the loyalty of helpers; create awareness of you and your project in people who have relevant resources; and reassure those who need to take risks on your behalf.’ Henry (2010:114)

CATWOE p115

  • Blind chance
  • Wide-ranging exploration
  • The prepared mind
  • Individualised Action

6.12 Manage the Process Henry (2010:1113)

  • · Get the parameters right
  • · Record
  • · Sustain pace and energy
  • · Develop trust
  • · Keep the experience positive
  • · Plan
  • · Do – analyse either side and separately
  • · What?
  • · Why?

Learn from experience of others

  • Experiment

REFERENCE

Adams, J.L. (1987) Chase, Chance and Creativity: The Lucky Art of Novelty; New York; Columbia University Press.

Austin, J.H. (1978) Chase, Chance and Creativity: The Lucky Art of Novelty: New York: Columbia University Press.

McCaskey, M.B. (1988) ‘The challenge of managing ambiguity’, in Pondy, L.R, Boland, R.J and Thomas, H (eds) Managing Ambiguity and Change, new York, pp 2-11

Schon, A.A. (1983) The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals think in Action, London: Temple Smith

Wetherall, A. and Nunamaker, J (1999) Getting Results from Electronic Meetings

Winnicott, D.W (1972) Playing and Reality. Harmondsworth (1983) Davis, M and Wallbridge, D (1983) Boundary and Space: An Introduction to the Work of D.W. Winnicott. Harmondsorth.

Organisational conditions and levels of creativity: notes on Ekvall

QQ1 Do some organisational characteristics promote lower, more adaptive, creative acts but impede more radical creativity?

QQ2 Do some conditions that stimulate the radical block block the adaptive kind of creative acts?

ANS: Yes, but both have their place, as competitors or as contributors in in a production process. Ekvall did his research in an unnamed chemical business with four different factories and was able to compare two with similar activities but differing management processes. I liken it to the ICI Dulux plant (my imagineering), where the successful ‘adaptive’ factory produces White Paints, while the factory where ‘free creatives’ are at ‘play’ this is where buttermilk with pixie dust is made and has found a market.

Edited extract from Creativity and Innovation Management 6 (4), 195-205 (1997)

‘As risk taking and anxiety are ingredients of creative acts, culture elements that make risk taking and failure less threatening and dangerous are promoting of creative behaviour, whereas on situations where creative Initiatives are met with suspicion, defensiveness and aggression, the fear of failure, becomes strong and holds creativity back.’

However, having worked for a period in a highly ‘creative’ environment, there can be too much play, variety and thinking. There has to be an interplay, especially where clients, including stakeholders along the supply chain, are serviced. Advertising agencies have structures that contain the ‘creatives’ in the creative department, their revolutionary and disruptive antics kept well away from ‘planing’ or ‘account handling’, with the accountants potentially well clear in a different building or city.

‘A rational systematic, achievement-orientated culture, an administrative functioning style, that stresses systems, procedures, goals’.

This sounds like an adaptive organisation. It is worthy. Yet, catching a TV piece on MacLaren cars , I was struct how by the impression of a Renaissance studio putting out a series of similar masterpieces. There was creativity, of course, but also a system. The transition to far greater production volumes with vastly tighter turnaround times at each stage and station could be it’s undoing. What happens when the painters in the studio go from working on a masterpiece with a sense of ownership of each one, to ‘painting by numbers’ in order to fill order books?

—-

Using the ‘creative climate questionnaire’ CCQ
Ekvall, 1991 and 1996

Conflicts are negative to creativity, debates positive.

Ekvall postulates (p141) if an organisation working with incremental and adaptive creativity stresses risk taking and freedom? Highly creative people (if there are any at all) with an ’innovative style’ Kirton (1987) will be stimulated and respond by presenting more radical ideas and problem solutions than before’. The ’adoptors’, will be uneasy and lose energy and motivation to solve problems.

High scores may block the radical creativity and innovation but promote the adaptive. P141

The study at the chemical company provides an indication that strict and clear structures, policies and rules are hindrances to higher level, innovative creativity and that more loose, vague and variable structures are prerequisites for such radical creative acts to be prevalent in the organisation.

All para from p141 to p142

INNOVATOR

Kirton (1987) the innovator is the person who challenges rules, dislikes routine work and takes control in unstructured situations.

REFERENCE

For more read chapter 10 ‘Organizational Conditions and Levels of Creativity’ (1997) by Goran Ekvall pp135-145 in Henry, (2006) Creative Management and Development (3rd Ed.)

Ekvall, G. (1997) Edited extract from ‘Creativity and Innovation Management’, 6(4), 195-205

Kirton , M,J (1987) ’Adaptors and Innovators. Cognitive Style and Personality’. IN S.G. Isaksen (Ed.), Frontiers of Creativity Research, Buffalo: Bearly Ltd.

Development and Learning

This chapter is on ‘Development and learning

This forms part of the read for block one of the MBA module ‘Creativity, Innovation and Change’ with the OU which I am taking as an elective for my Masters in Open and Distance Education (MAODE).

TO LISTEN TO: CD, Audio 8 ‘Developing Participation’

Box 9.1 (To add if copyright permits) TO ADD

The comparison to the Romans doing nothing for us is surely disingenuous, nor do I think it historically accurate to presume that the ‘better slaves’ were exported. It may show how a civil society may implode and become vulnerable to the brutish invasion of the less civilised.

How do you cement change?

  • Beneficiaries
  • Champions
  • Informed
  • Motivated
  • Financed

Other examples of where great civilisations have left no trace. But they many have: Romans, Greeks, Normans, Vikings (not even a great civilisation), no so sure about the Maya or Incas.

(Kotter et al are mentioned more than once but no reference given. Probably ‘Marketing: an introduction 2006) Adapted from J Brooker, Creative Gorilla online newsletter 2005. Here’s a link.).

9.2 CONCEPTIONS OF DEVELOPMENT

  • Team Forming  (Henry, 2006:189)
  • Forming and storming in which members establish their identities (Tuckman, 1965)
  • Establish group norms and practices.

‘Only after people feel recognised and norms are agreed is the group likely to perform well.  (Henry, 2006:189)

A problem to solve:

  • Problem exploration
  • Idea generation
  • Implementation
  • Analyse the situation
  • Define the problem
  • Develop options
  • Select a strategy
  • Develop an action plan

Parallel and sequential activities required for new product development.

Personal development:

  • Piaget (1929) referred to often and read for the MAODE (Masters in Open and Distance Education, with the OU)
  • Erickson (1959)
  • Maslow (1962)
  • Kohlberg (1969)
  • Perry (1970)

Development of society, civilisations, agriculture, and industrial.

‘It is possible to subdivide the onotogenetic and phylogenetic stages differently’ . (Henry, 2006:190)

  • Ontogentic means: ‘The origin and development of an individual organism from embryo to adult’.
  • Phylogenetic: ‘Relating to or based on evolutionary development or history: a phylogenetic classification of species’

(See Reader, Henry’s chapter on Creative Management and Development … Actually that’s ‘Creativity, Management and Well-Being’.

ACTIVITY 9.1

IMAGINE WRITING YOUR OWN OBITUARY. WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED FOR BY YOUR COLLEAGUES, FRIENDS AND FAMILY?

This reminds me of a Nelson Bolles activity, from ‘What Color’s your parachute?‘ I recall writing the ‘good husband, loving father’ thing.

Level of or lack of control, rather than more or less hours worked is what matters. (Henry, 2006:193)

ACTIVITY 9.2

WHAT METAPHORS FOR DEVELOPMENT DOMINATE THINKING IN YOUR ORGANISATION – FOR EXAMPLE, GROWTH AS PARTNERSHIP OR ACQUISITION?

Can they be thought of as:

  • Relationships (colleagues, mentor, coach or buddy)
  • Iterative cycles
  • Balancing views

GROW

  • Goal (identify a desired goal)
  • Reality (checking reality, enumerating options to move nearer the goal)
  • Who/What/Whom (identify what specific actions are required, commit to a time for action.

APPENDIX A

SEVEN ACTIVITIES TO APPRAISE AND PLAN GOALS

Whitmore (2002)

ACTIVITY 9.3

NOTE DOWN THREE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT LEARNING EXPERIENCES OF YOUR ADULT LIFE, i.e. The experiences that have taught you the most.

I do wonder!

  1. My late father’s death and being an executor of his will with his fourth wife. I should not have gone near the thing as it scrambled my head for at least three years. I have to learn to say ‘No!’ I was neither professionally nor emotionally up to it.
  2. Engestrom’s ‘Activity Systems’ I think I get it, the representation of something complex such as knowledge creation or idea generation as a result of people or groups participating to solve a problem. My approach is to read references until in this case I got a book that made sense ‘From Teams to Knots’ with case studies that included live TV production.
  3.  Producing ‘Which Firm of Solicitors?’ and directing it, indeed the entire entrepreneurial package (book, video, distribution) setting up a production company, raising the finances, turning a profit and repeating the exercise two years later.

Handy (1991) major learning experiences are usually precipitated by new and unexpected challenges and crises. (Henry, 2006:196)

Indeed, though my inclination to put my energies into something new each time may be less productive.

Three forms of learning:

  • Making good deficiencies
  • Unlearning assumptions
  • Co-learning with others

Knowledge is situated. ‘someone from the private sector may lack the necessary public-sector management knowledge‘. p 196

Our brains are plastic and store information in idiosyncratic ways that are peculiar to ourselves. (Henry, 2006:197)

I say!

Some people are naturally better at certain ways of working than others.

Gardner (1993) people may have a surfeit if one and a deficit if another.

  • Linguistic
  • Logical-mathematical
  • Visual-spatial
  • Musical
  • kinesthetic
  • intrapersonal
  • Interpersonal

P.198 ‘Our intelligence, temperament, cognitive style and motivation combine to give us certain strengths and weaknesses. The spontaneous may be adaptable but possibly not so organised’.

‘Struggling in a job that does not allow you to use your strengths and asks you to employ skills that are not natural to you, especially for long periods of time, is difficult for anyone. It can also be soul-destroying’.

ACTIVITY 9.4

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY ARE YOUR STRENGTHS? RATE YOURSELF ON EACH OF THE FOLLOWING ON A SCALE OF 1 TO 10.

Note your five highest scores: these are your strengths as you perceive them. What do others think?

  • Perceptive                 10
  • Humorous                  3
  • Energetic                 7
  • Leadership                5
  • Decisive                       6
  • Open                         9
  • Courageous         3-7 it depends on my mood 🙁
  • Team Player            2-8 it depends on the game!
  • Diligent                   3-9 it depends on if I have given myself the time or the role that I am playing. I can proofreader the work of other people but not my own.
  • Appreciative          7
  • Disciplined               5 it depends on the context and there being one project nor two dozen.
  • Loyal                        4 Where recognised, my motivations are intrinsic.
  • Ingenious                9 given half a chance
  • Sincere                   10 too much so
  • Calm                             2 things worry me. I need to be part of the right team, or have the right team around me.
  • Empathetic                       7
  • Practical                         2 I struggle with the Freeview box that’s gone wiring and still don’t get Google+ but I can put up a fence and change a light-socket.
  • Fair                                    7
  • Stoical                              4
  • Generous                          2-8 hit and miss
  • Wise                                    1-9 it depends with whom and where, context is everything.
  • Modest                              2 I guess I’m not.
  • Prudent                             1 I don’t suppose I am having just dine this exercise
  • Forgiving                              1 I guess not as my father and two of my stepmother’s will never be forgiven.

How many of your strengths or weaknesses are you called upon to use regularly at work?

Of the above? Six.

 ‘If personal and professional development were modelled on the practices found among adults who are functioning particularly well, we might spend rather more time encouraging employees to pursue their interests actively, have fun and develop their support network, rather than asking them to reflect on their problems, skill deficiencies and learning points. Successful creative people are also known to pursue activities they enjoy. (Henry, 2006:199)

I believe I am highly perceptive and can get the measure of a communications problem quickly.

Unlearning and deconstruction.
(see Argyris in the Creative Management and Development reader).

NASA Challenger disaster.

ACTIVITY 9.5 PICK ONE OF THE
PRECEPTS LISTED OR CREATE ONE OF YOUR OWN. LIVE BY IT FOR A WEEK.

‘Yes or No’

I have to group my week’s work as one or the other then get on and deliver on what I have promised.

Much if our learning occurs as we build on ideas we glean from others. (Handy, 2006:202)

Group-based learning:

‘Knowledge emerges from relationships amongst connected people’.

  • Action learning
  • Focus groups
  • Quality circles
  • Creative problem solving
  • Participatory rural appraisal

‘This kind if learning happens informally’: at the bar, over lunch or in the kitchen, travelling to or from a meeting or conference.

REFERENCE

Lissack, P., and Richardson,K.A. (2003) ‘Models without morals: towards the ethical use of business models’. Emergence, Vol.5, No. 2, pp. 72-103

Gardener, H, (1993) Frames if Mind: Theory of Multiple Intelligences, 2nd edn London. Fontana.

Henry, J and the course team (2006, 2010) ‘Creativity, Cognition and Development” Book 1 B822 Creativity, Innovation and Change.

Shiva, V. (1993) Monocultures of the mind: Perspectives on Biodiversity and Biotechnology, London/Atlantic Heights NJ/Penang: Zed Books.

Tuckman, B.W. (1965) ‘Development sequences in small groups’, Psychological Bulletin, Vol.6, pp. 384-99

Whitmore, J (2002) Coaching for Performance, 2nd edn., London: Nicolas Brearley.

Analogical Thinking in Business, Organisations and Mangement Styles

Analogical thinking, from Churchill’s ‘iron curtain’ to the invention of Velcro.

(Indeed neurologists believe there is a gene that causes human beings to think in metaphors and that it is exactly this that allows us to invent, in fact creativity in the face of adversity still rings true today, though we are not facing a Sabre-toothed tiger at the entrance to the cave, or changing climate with the onset of the ice age.)

Analogy – transfer of an idea from one domain to another.

Metaphor – resemblance or flavour. A way of making the strange familiar p.85. Or the hard to comprehend (trees, ecosystems, architecture, traffic lights).

Morgan (1986)

Kinds of metaphor:

· Mechanistic

· Ecological

· Social

· Cognitive

· Systematic

Metaphors as labels:

Manager as captain or conductor.

Morgan (1986, 1997)

· Machine

· Organism

· Culture

· Brain

· Political System

· Psychic prison

· Flux

· Transformation

· Instrument of domination

ACTIVITY 4.1

1) Pick three metaphors (a, b, c) for organisations, for instance the organisation as machine, organism or political system.

2) List the characteristics you associate with each.

3) Try and relate each characteristic to a feature in an organisation that you know.

4) What features of organisations do these characteristics highlight, and what do they conceal?

A) As an orchestra, ABB, 1999. A corporate cliché I have seen applied to Abbey National and others. Visually it may have resonance, though the cost of featuring musicians, let alone playing a piece where used is prohibitive to all but the largest organisations. The characteristics are of complementary divisions ‘playing the same tune’ with woodwind, strings and brass, for example representing the different businesses. With a single conductor it may better fit the largely privately owned enterprise, say a Richard Branson and Virgin, or a Russian Oligarch, though no longer News International and the Murdochs. The features perhaps work for News International with newspapers and TV interests, even having a go with MySpace being largely media, whilst Branson is more the empirical Napoleonic conqueror of anything going?

B) As a strawberry plant, i.e. a federal organisation that has grown organically rather than by acquisition, perhaps like a clearing bank? Perhaps like a franchise such as Kall-Kwik. Or a retail chain, appropriately, such as Body Shop. The characteristics I think of are independently managed businesses that sell the same range of products, with common branding and sales materials, though with some localisation. This works well in relation to the plant performing differently on a variety of local soils/climates i.e. the same organism but in different settings/opportunities to flourish or not.

An empire

C) As an empire, where a holding company or private equity group has gone on the acquisition trail buying up businesses for the opportunity, rather than as sets of businesses that complement each other, so take over, create economies of scale in management and Head Office functions. The characteristics here feel as if it should be military with no good outcome, ala ‘Wall Street’, though there are or nave been more benevolent, squid give groups or holdings companies in the past such as the long gone Ferguson Industrial Holdings PLC, or perhaps Unipart Group of Companies (UGC). This suggests a dictator at the top, though the leaders can be benevolent even if a tall pyramid is the business structure.

If the organisation doesn’t fit the metaphor, it is too simplistic a metaphor!

The metaphor can intone a favourable or negative bias. For example, if asked in research to describe the organisation you work for as a car do you want it to be a Citroen 2CV, or a VW Golf, a Rolls-Royce or Ford Escort, a 1980s Ford Cortina or a Triumph Stag?

A business that is a machine I the digital age is surely going to get left behind through its rigid bureaucracies and hierarchies, a predilection for quantitative measures (ROI and KPIs) too?

(My concpetion of the School of Communication Arts. Which one am I?)

In the past I used successfully the idea of ‘nurturing’ to represent first a school (Arts College) and then my own services to graduate recruiters.

In 2011 it seems archaic to think of teachers or tutors in this way, people who are moderators, coaches or facilitators. (The ecological metaphor is used with a cartoon not dissimilar to my own p.88 not shown here for copyright reasons, to represent people as seedlings or potted plants).

From Table 4.1 metaphors of businesses in relation to:

  • Character
  • Flair
  • Structure
  • Climate
  • Style
  • Authority
  • Form
  • Control
  • Decisions
  • Strategy
  • Adaptability
  • Orientation
  • Approach
  • Procedure
  • Attitude

ACTIVITY 4.2

Take expressions of the above for a ‘Machine like business, as 0 on a scale and

‘Organic’ as 10, then decide where:

a) you place your own organisation and b) yourself.

ACTIVITY 4.3

I’ll do this one offline.

Other metaphors might include:

  • Brain
  • Knowledge
  • Learning

Network (Morgan, 1993) business as a spider-plant.

Federal (Handy, 1989) business as shamrock

Chaos and complexity.

Brains and cities.

Supporting ‘patterns of transformation that emerge spontaneously in complex adaptive systems’. (Henry 2006:95)

Complex adaptive systems: termites, flock movements, (anecdote of the aeroplane simulator managed by parts of an audience that collectively cancels out the oddball, incompetent, inattentive or would-be plane-crashing individuals) p96 (Berreby, 1998:45 and Clark, 1997:75).

Self-organisation

‘people do not need to be told what to do: they are intelligent agents continuously learning and modifying their behaviour on the basis if feedback’. Handy (2010:97)

See DVD 2, Video 3

N.B. The metaphors chosen tend to reflect the chooser’s values. (Henry 2006:98)

Activity 4.4

What metaphor would you use to describe your organisation?

Activity 4.5

Describe the process of management as you experience it.

  • Warlike
  • Sporting
  • Spiritual

Activity 4.6

A metaphor to describe my management style.

Activity 4.7

Note metaphors to describe daily management styles.

Activity 4.8

Take a current task, associate with it an appropriate metaphor then give it another that is far removed from the first.

Organisational paradigms p.104

Functionalist paradigm – world as an objective reality.

Kolb (1984) drawing on Pepper (1942)

Four ways of thinking about the world:

  1. Mechanistic
  2. Realist
  3. Organicist
  4. Pragmatic

And thinking styles:

  • Assimilator
  • Converger
  • Diverger
  • Accommodator

Table 4.2 Organisational metaphors and paradigms

Activity 4.9 WHAT METAPHOR WOULD YOU OFFER FOR MANAGEMENT IN THE 21st CENTURY?

I’ve experienced many, including from the table:

· Chaos/postmodern/play

I know of:

· System/participatory/co-create

I like the sound of:

· Drama/interpretive/enact

For the 21st Century I like the model of the modern ideas lab in which innovative ideas are trialled, developed then kicked out with a chunk of financing to thrive however turns out best!

This is the sink or swim analogy.

But after suitable teaching/coaching. Or perhaps a metaphor of procreation, raising and nurturing a child then letting them go? So organic or animal (or in particular mammalian or human).

Stacy (1996) and danger of controls, procedures and Pre-specified objectives.

FURTHER READING

Morgan, G. ‘Paradigms, metaphors and puzzle-solving’, C9 in Henry (1999a)

FROM MY OU STUDENT BLOG

‘Consider this medium as like talking with your fingers – half-way between spoken conversation and written discourse.’ (Hawkridge, Morgan and Jeffs, 1997, quoted in Salmon 2005)

Salmon, G (2005) E-moderating. The Key to teaching and learning online.

REFERENCE

Berreby, D (1998) ‘Complexity theory: fact-free science or business tool?

Strategy and Business, No. 10, pp. 40-50.

Clark, A (1997) Being there. Cambridge, MA. MIT

Henry, J & the MBA Course Team (2006, 2010) B822 ‘Creativity, Innovation and Change’ Book 1 ‘Creativity, Cognition and Development’. The Open University Business School

Morgan, G. (1986 2nd 1997) Images of Organisation

Creativity – Can it be defined or contained?

Though cryptic this means something to me and will jog the memories of my 12 or so fellow OU students on ‘Creativity, Innovation and Change’.

The reference to ‘Chizsentmehighly’ refers to Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi and Chapter 1 of the Course Resource Book ‘ A Systems Perspective on Creativity’. Henry refers to the course Chair, Professor Jane Henry who also features in the 28 minute audio programme that I have now listened to FOUR times. (In surveys I come out extremely low on my ability with or liking of ‘auditory’ learning; give me a visual and some words, please).

In a subgroup and then in the form we discussed the meaning of ‘creativity’ (ostensibly in the buisness context). We found we needed to qualify it, to set parameters and have goals or outcomes. Are you, for example, creative if your ideas are in your head? Or if they are ‘random acts of weirdness?’

We were made to think about use of models too, there are a couple in the Block 1 reading. The important thing I have learnt is to recognise that a model is one person’s simplification of the complex. You may never get onto their wavelength, and if you do, recognise its failings. Figure 1.1 in the Csikszentmihalyi chapter is an example. Csikszentmihalyi (1999) Having studied Engestrom I prefer his Activity Systems. Tersa Amabaile in ‘How to Kill Creativity’ has a more easily understood Venn Diagram with ‘Creativity’ at the centre of Expertise, Creative Thinking Skills and Motivation. (Amabile, 1998)

Context is important. Although I’ve put Apollo 13 here, we actually discussed some other example of ingenuity in a moment of crisis. This on the basis that creativity is often forthcoming at times of crisis (indeed one of the ‘business guru’s Jane Henry interviews charts innovation and creativity and puts in the need for pressure as delivery of a project is reached). The other examples remind me of the eclectic mix of backgrounds of my fellow students from whom some rich examples were given: the Army, Air Traffic Control, Manufacturing electronic lighting systems in Finland, TV, the NHS, Marketing, a County Council and so on.

Gwok Kann, Jackson Pollock, Greyson Perry and Travey Emin got a mention, as did Steve Jobs, James Dyson and Bill Gates. We got into pigeomn-holing people as ‘innovative’ or ‘adaptive’ and were warned of a ‘two box thinking’ (that we can quickly confine oursevels to a limiting debate).

Something similar was achieved by a Game where in groups we were given a set of nine cards: 7 with letters on them, one with a symbol and one blank. We were told to come up with a three letter anagram that would be readily understood by others. We did QE2, KPI and then by tearing the ‘Pi’ symbol in half and making it into an ‘I’ ‘CIA’. In this instance we got into a conversation about how we set ourselves parameters, that we automatically follow rules and make assumptions even when there is no need to do so. We could have turned the cards over and written any letters we liked. The game had not come with a rule book.

Clearly I’ll be adding to this, letting the tutorial act as a catalyst on the books, CDs and other online resources, as well as discussions in our tutor group.

Analogical thinking in business

Analogical thinking, from Churchill’s ‘iron curtain’ to the invention of Velcro.

(Indeed neurologists believe there is a gene that causes human beings to think in metaphors and that it is exactly this that allows us to invent, in fact creativity in the face of adversity still rings true today, though we are not facing a Sabre-toothed tiger at the entrance to the cave, or changing climate with the onset of the ice age.)

Analogy – transfer of an idea from one domain to another.

Metaphor – resemblance or flavour. A way of making the strange familiar p.85. Or the hard to comprehend (trees, ecosystems, architecture, traffic lights).

Morgan (1986)

Kinds of metaphor:

· Mechanistic

· Ecological

· Social

· Cognitive

· Systematic

Metaphors as labels:

Manager as captain or conductor.

Morgan (1986, 1997)

· Machine

· Organism

· Culture

· Brain

· Political System

· Psychic prison

· Flux

· Transformation

· Instrument of domination

ACTIVITY 4.1

1) Pick three metaphors (a, b, c) for organisations, for instance the organisation as machine, organism or political system.

2) List the characteristics you associate with each.

3) Try and relate each characteristic to a feature in an organisation that you know.

4) What features of organisations do these characteristics highlight, and what do they conceal?

A) As an orchestra, ABB, 1999. A corporate cliché I have seen applied to Abbey National and others. Visually it may have resonance, though the cost of featuring musicians, let alone playing a piece where used is prohibitive to all but the largest organisations. The characteristics are of complementary divisions ‘playing the same tune’ with woodwind, strings and brass, for example representing the different businesses. With a single conductor it may better fit the largely privately owned enterprise, say a Richard Branson and Virgin, or a Russian Oligarch, though no longer News International and the Murdochs. The features perhaps work for News International with newspapers and TV interests, even having a go with MySpace being largely media, whilst Branson is more the empirical Napoleonic conqueror of anything going?

B) As a strawberry plant, i.e. a federal organisation that has grown organically rather than by acquisition, perhaps like a clearing bank? Perhaps like a franchise such as Kall-Kwik. Or a retail chain, appropriately, such as Body Shop. The characteristics I think of are independently managed businesses that sell the same range of products, with common branding and sales materials, though with some localisation. This works well in relation to the plant performing differently on a variety of local soils/climates i.e. the same organism but in different settings/opportunities to flourish or not.

An empire

C) As an empire, where a holding company or private equity group has gone on the acquisition trail buying up businesses for the opportunity, rather than as sets of businesses that complement each other, so take over, create economies of scale in management and Head Office functions. The characteristics here feel as if it should be military with no good outcome, ala ‘Wall Street’, though there are or nave been more benevolent, squid give groups or holdings companies in the past such as the long gone Ferguson Industrial Holdings PLC, or perhaps Unipart Group of Companies (UGC). This suggests a dictator at the top, though the leaders can be benevolent even if a tall pyramid is the business structure.

If the organisation doesn’t fit the metaphor, it is too simplistic a metaphor!

The metaphor can intone a favourable or negative bias. For example, if asked in research to describe the organisation you work for as a car do you want it to be a Citroen 2CV, or a VW Golf, a Rolls-Royce or Ford Escort, a 1980s Ford Cortina or a Triumph Stag?

A business that is a machine I the digital age is surely going to get left behind through its rigid bureaucracies and hierarchies, a predilection for quantitative measures (ROI and KPIs) too?

(My concpetion of the School of Communication Arts. Which one am I?)

In the past I used successfully the idea of ‘nurturing’ to represent first a school (Arts College) and then my own services to graduate recruiters.

In 2011 it seems archaic to think of teachers or tutors in this way, people who are moderators, coaches or facilitators. (The ecological metaphor is used with a cartoon not dissimilar to my own p.88 not shown here for copyright reasons, to represent people as seedlings or potted plants).

From Table 4.1 metaphors of businesses in relation to:

  • Character
  • Flair
  • Structure
  • Climate
  • Style
  • Authority
  • Form
  • Control
  • Decisions
  • Strategy
  • Adaptability
  • Orientation
  • Approach
  • Procedure
  • Attitude

ACTIVITY 4.2

Take expressions of the above for a ‘Machine like business, as 0 on a scale and

‘Organic’ as 10, then decide where:

a) you place your own organisation and b) yourself.

ACTIVITY 4.3

I’ll do this one offline.

Other metaphors might include:

  • Brain
  • Knowledge
  • Learning

Network (Morgan, 1993) business as a spider-plant.

Federal (Handy, 1989) business as shamrock

Chaos and complexity.

Brains and cities.

Supporting ‘patterns of transformation that emerge spontaneously in complex adaptive systems’. (Henry 2006:95)

Complex adaptive systems: termites, flock movements, (anecdote of the aeroplane simulator managed by parts of an audience that collectively cancels out the oddball, incompetent, inattentive or would-be plane-crashing individuals) p96 (Berreby, 1998:45 and Clark, 1997:75).

Self-organisation

‘people do not need to be told what to do: they are intelligent agents continuously learning and modifying their behaviour on the basis if feedback’. Handy (2010:97)

See DVD 2, Video 3

N.B. The metaphors chosen tend to reflect the chooser’s values. (Henry 2006:98)

Activity 4.4

What metaphor would you use to describe your organisation?

Activity 4.5

Describe the process of management as you experience it.

  • Warlike
  • Sporting
  • Spiritual

Activity 4.6

A metaphor to describe my management style.

Activity 4.7

Note metaphors to describe daily management styles.

Activity 4.8

Take a current task, associate with it an appropriate metaphor then give it another that is far removed from the first.

Organisational paradigms p.104

Functionalist paradigm – world as an objective reality.

Kolb (1984) drawing on Pepper (1942)

Four ways of thinking about the world:

  1. Mechanistic
  2. Realist
  3. Organicist
  4. Pragmatic

And thinking styles:

  • Assimilator
  • Converger
  • Diverger
  • Accommodator

Table 4.2 Organisational metaphors and paradigms

Activity 4.9 WHAT METAPHOR WOULD YOU OFFER FOR MANAGEMENT IN THE 21st CENTURY?

I’ve experienced many, including from the table:

· Chaos/postmodern/play

I know of:

· System/participatory/co-create

I like the sound of:

· Drama/interpretive/enact

For the 21st Century I like the model of the modern ideas lab in which innovative ideas are trialled, developed then kicked out with a chunk of financing to thrive however turns out best!

This is the sink or swim analogy.

But after suitable teaching/coaching. Or perhaps a metaphor of procreation, raising and nurturing a child then letting them go? So organic or animal (or in particular mammalian or human).

Stacy (1996) and danger of controls, procedures and Pre-specified objectives.

FURTHER READING

Morgan, G. ‘Paradigms, metaphors and puzzle-solving’, C9 in Henry (1999a)

FROM MY OU STUDENT BLOG

‘Consider this medium as like talking with your fingers – half-way between spoken conversation and written discourse.’ (Hawkridge, Morgan and Jeffs, 1997, quoted in Salmon 2005)

Salmon, G (2005) E-moderating. The Key to teaching and learning online.

REFERENCE

Berreby, D (1998) ‘Complexity theory: fact-free science or business tool?

Strategy and Business, No. 10, pp. 40-50.

Clark, A (1997) Being there. Cambridge, MA. MIT

Henry, J & the MBA Course Team (2006, 2010) B822 ‘Creativity, Innovation and Change’ Book 1 ‘Creativity, Cognition and Development’. The Open University Business School

Morgan, G. (1986 2nd 1997) Images of Organisation

Complexity and the unconscious

What does it take to flourish in a team?

Flourishing in teams
West M,A., Sacramento, C.A, In ‘Creative Management and Development. Henry, J (2011) pp25-44

Or ‘how to develop team innovative teams’

New ways of doing things. SEE FULL QUOTE (West and Farr, 1990)
Initial creativity leads to innovation.
Innovation is dependent on: (Oldham and Cummings 1980)

For innovation to occur need to consider:

Team task
Group composition
Organisational context
Team processes

Skill variety
Challenge
Task identity
Task feedback

& Autonomy (Hackman and Oldman, 1980)

Innovative people are:

Creative
Implementers
Think in novel ways
Think globally (see the wood for the trees)
Intellectual and see things in different ways
Analytic abilities
Practical contextual abilities to persuade others
And show openness (Barrick et al., 1998)
+ they have confidence in their abilities.

Self-disciplined
High degree of drive and motivation
Concerned with achieving excellence (Mumford and Gustafson, 1998)

Innovative people have a high need for freedom, control and discretion in the workplace and appear to find bureaucratic limitations or the exercise of control by managers frustrating. (Barron and Harrington, 1981; West, 1987; West and Rushton, 1989)

1) Ensure the team task is intrinsically motivating
2) Ensure a high level of extrinsic demands as the task develops, so hands off to start but pressure mounting towards the end.
3) Select a team of innovative people
4) Select people with diverse skills and backgrounds
5) Provide organisational rewards for innovation
6) Create a learning and development climate in the organisation
7) Develop a climate for innovation in the organisation
8) Establish team norms for innovation
9) Encourage reflexivity in teams
10) Ensure there is clarity of leadership in the team and that the leadership style is appropriate for encouraging innovation.
11) Manage conflict constructively and encourage minorities to dissent within teams.
12) Don’t just bond … Bridge.

CONCLUSIONS
THE ‘whole’ task, its entirety.
Brainstorming away from the everyday.
Later pressures.
Fully integrated team working

REFERENCE

Barrack, M,R; Stewart, G,L; Neubert,M,J; Mount,M,K (1998) relating member ability and personality to work-team processes and team effectiveness. journal of applied psychology 83 , 377-91

Barron, F.B and Harrington, D.M (1981) Creativity, Intelligence and Personality in M.R. Rosenweig and L.W.Porter (eds) Annual Review of Psychology, 32, 439-76.

Hackman, J, R and Oldman G,R (1980) Work Redesign. Reading, MA.

Mumford M,D and Gustafson, S,B (1998) Creativity Syndrome: Integration, application and innovation. Psychological Bulletin, 103, 27-43

Oldman, G, R and Cummings, A (1996) Employee Creativity: personal and contextual factors at work. academy of management journal, 39 (3), 607-34

West, M.A (1987) Role Innovation in the World of Work. British Journal of Social Psychology, 26, 305-15.

West, M,A and Farr, J,L (1990) Innovation at work. In M.A.West and J.L.Farr (eds) innovation and creativity at work: Psychological and Organisational Strategies, Chichester, England.

West, M.A and Rushton, R. (1989) Mismatches in work role transitions. journal of occupational Psychology, 62 271-86

Complexity and the unconscious ‘Analytical, computer mentalities are leading us to ignore innovation’.

‘Complexity and the unconscious’

Change in complex systems is inherently unpredictable.

Notes from Audio 2 and the supporting Media Book in produced and presented by Jane Henry (2010).

An element of randomness makes a system more robust.

Prof. Brian Goodwin, Schumacher College

Emergent properties, you can only know a lot about the interactions.

Prof. Ralph Stacy, University of Hertfordshire.


An invitation to take seriously our inability to predict long term outcomes.

In business, metaphor of relationship in complex adaptive processes of interactions and responses.
Looking at the patterns, not individuals, and that intentions are forever emerging in conversations. Notion of using a prescription from a case study that has worked in one place because of its whole context doesn’t work in another.

A systems properties to evolve only if characterised by a critical degree of diversity.

Prof. Richard Pascale, Change guru, Templeton College, Oxford.

Equilibrium, forced or unintended, due to long tenured staff or stuck with a deified product (IBM and mainframes) can be problematic.

Trying to operate on the edge of chaos gives a company the capacity to deal with deviance.

Operate with an element of variety to cope with the unexpected. Self-organisation emerges spontaneously. You cannot control or direct a living system.

Prof. Brian Goodwin


Ecosystems, communities and economies are unpredictable.

Prof. Guy Claxton, psychologist, University of Bristol Managing our minds.

Implicit learning is good at spotting patterns where there is a good deal of complexity.

We can think too much, it is deleterious.

N.B. In complex, novel and ambiguous situations our unconscious information processor has a greater capacity to perceive and understand the complex patterns involved than the conscious mind. The situation is that information is incomplete, uncertain, ambiguous, complex and novel so intuitive, and slower exploratory thinking is likely to be more productive.

Analytical, computer mentalities are leading us to ignore innovation.

Don’t respond immediately to what a person has said; give it space, a sense of corporate exploration.

It is impossible to create a plan and retain control.

REFERENCE

Henry, J (2010) B822 Creativity, Innovation and Change. CDA 1-5 Audio Pack Track 2 Complexity and the Unconscious.

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