Creativity and control are often seen as a paradox in teams – how can we allow for really creative thinking and innovative ideas, if we tightly control the behaviours of our virtual teams? At the same time, how can we mitigate risk, and operate businesses, without managing the processes and output of our teams – especially if they’re working offsite. This business card was part of a promotion for Google Profiles. The first 100 people who signed up to a new tool by Google called Google Profiles (this was like creating a Facebook or LinkedIn profile) were sent a set of business cards so that they could tell people how to find them Google. Now, Google are a great example of a company that really keeps creativity at the core of their business. At the same time, they are very much still a business. Part of this is culture, part of this is process, part of this is remuneration – but one example I really want to draw attention to is their 20% time initiative. Basically, staff are encouraged to spend 20%each week to a project of their own personal interest. The amount of time is controlled, but within that time, staff have free reign to work on what they’re really interested in. Time isn’t actually tracked in Google Often, this is just a creative outlet, but sometimes these projects lead to some signfiicant innovations for google – Gmail and Adsense both came out of the 20% time intiative?And Google aren’t the first ones to come up with this controlled creativity. 3M developed a 15% time rule in the 1950s based on the same philosophy. Masking tape and post it notes were two of the products that were developed by engineers in their 15% time with no budgets, plans or formal management.
So I was just talking about using rich media theory – the idea that the richest media isn’t always better than lean media. And sometimes, technology just can’t possible replace what a face-to-face conversation can do for you. If meeting face to face isn’t a huge time commitment, or cost, then I’d really recommend making the most of it for complex or sensitive tasks.Have any of you seen the movie ‘Up in the Air’ with George Clooney? Blah. If you haven’t, it’s a movie about a man, Ryan Bingham, who travels 320 days of the day doing a job that most of us would hate (and that probably wouldn’t be possible in New Zealand). The basic plot of the movie is that a young upstart joins Ryan’s company who suggests that there’s a better way of doing things that will save the company a huge annual travel bill. This is a short clip showing Natalie trialing her ‘way of the future’ – it won’t take you long to work out what Ryan does for a living.The concept of firing people over a video chat is an example of somewhere that technology usage is completely inappropriate. Sensitive issues like performance appraisal, redundancies, no matter how close your team, are always better done face to face. And this includes personal discussions around inappropriate behaviour, inappropriate conflict etc.Of course, if you’re discussing which supplier to deem preferred for office stationery, an online video chat like this would be absolutely fine. In fact, it would probably be a little bit over the top unless you really had a stringent process for naming preferred suppliers.
Managing Innovation Virtual Teams: What You Need to Know
Managing Innovative, High Performing Virtual Teams<br />What You Need to Know<br />6th July 2011 – Kim Scott<br />PMINZ Conference 2011<br />
3<br />What to take away from this session…<br />Creativity and control can coexist<br />Trust is key<br />Rich isn’t always better<br />It all depends<br />
4<br />1. Creativity and control can coexist<br />
5<br />Tuckman’s stages of group development<br />Tuckman, B. (1965). Developmental sequence in small groups. Psychological Bulletin, 63(6), 384-399.<br />Tuckman, B., & Jensen, M. A. (1977). Stages of small-group development revisited. Group & Organization Studies, 2(4), 419-427.<br />
6<br />Tuckman’s stages of group development<br />Social control<br />
Control =<br />Social <br />Control<br />Managerial Control<br />+<br />Ouchi, W. (1979). A conceptual framework for the design of organizational control mechanisms. Management Science, 25(9), 833-848.<br />Ocker, R. (2005). Influences on creativity in asynchronous virtual teams: A qualitative analysis of experimental teams. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 48(1).<br />
Trust<br />Perceived Task Performance<br />Team Satisfaction<br />Relationship Commitment<br />Stress<br />Barczak, G., Lassk, F., & Mulki, J. (2010). Antecedents of Team Creativity: An Examination of Team Emotional Intelligence, Team Trust and Collaborative Culture. Creativity and Innovation Management, 19(4), 332.<br />
Goal Setting<br />Technology<br />Role Clarity<br />Ray, D., & Elder, D. (2007). Managing horizontal accountability. The Journal for Quality and Participation, 30(4), 24-28. <br />
Interaction Processes<br />Training<br />Rewards<br />Elloy, D. (2008). The relationship between self-leadership behaviors and organization variables in a self-managed work team environment. Management Research News, 31(11), 801..<br />Maurer, I. (2010). How to build trust in inter-organizational projects: The impact of project staffing and project rewareds on the formation of trust, knowledge acquisitiion and product innovation. International Journal of Project Management, 28(7), 629.<br />
Shared Experiences<br />Networking<br />Transparency<br />Barczak, G., Lassk, F., & Mulki, J. (2010). Antecedents of Team Creativity: An Examination of Team Emotional Intelligence, Team Trust and Collaborative Culture. Creativity and Innovation Management, 19(4), 332.<br />
Media Richness Theory<br />Daft, R., & Lengel, R. (1984). Information richness: A new approach to managerial behavior and organizational design. In: Cummings, L., & Staw, B. (Eds.), Research in Organizational Behavior 6 (191-233). Homewood, IL: JAI Press.<br />
What does your team look like?<br />Umanath, N., & Kim, K. (1992). Task-structure relationship of information systems development subunit: A congruence perspective. Decision Sciences, 23(4), 819-838.<br />Chang, A., & Chih-Chiang, T. (2006). Quantifying uncertainty and equivocality in engineering projects. Construction Management and Economis, 24(2), 171, 184.<br />