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Requisite variety of expertise within a group in idea generation

Presented at ISPIM 2008 Conference, Tours, France together with Anu Suominen, co-writen with Heli Aramo-Immonen and Kaj Koskinen. Received Best Student Paper Award.

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Requisite variety of expertise within a group in idea generation

  1. 1. 1 REQUISITE VARIETY OF EXPERTISE WITHIN A GROUP IN IDEA GENERATION ANU SUOMINEN MSc., PhD-student JARI JUSSILA MSc., PhD-student Co-writers: Heli Aramo-Immonen, PhD Dr. Kaj U. Koskinen, docentIndustrial Management
  2. 2. 2 Pauling: ”The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas…”Industrial Management
  3. 3. 3 INTRODUCTION: TERMS CREATIVITY • Individual’s capability • Within every person • Involved in all human activities (with problem solving etc.) • Prerequisite for organizational innovation INNOVATION by OECD “...the implementation of a new or significantly improved product (goods or services), or process, a new marketing method, or a new organisational method in business practices, workplace organisation or external relations.” IDEA GENERATION • The 1st phase of innovation process • Without any ideas, no innovations will emergeIndustrial Management
  4. 4. 4 CREATIVITY AND IT’S LINK TO INNOVATION Resources Management practises Creativity feeds Innovation innovation Work Organizational Motivation Environment I IM PA PA CT CT Task Expertise S S Motivation Creativity Individual/Team Creativity Creativity Skills Amabile CTC, CTOCI (1997)Industrial Management
  5. 5. 5 REQUISITE VARIETY Asbhy’s Law of Requisite variety: • the internal complexity of a system should correspond to the multiplicity and complexity of the environment; otherwise the system will not function effectively enough in its environment Innovation requires Requisite variety: • diversity is necessity (Florida) • value of diversity (Martins & Terblanche) • diverse range of skills; Hybrid nature of people and managers (Trott) • team diversity (Farr et al.) • Requisite variety of information (Nonaka & Takeuchi) • Leveraging diversity: seeing differences as richness, being able to benefit from different viewpoints and opinions • Requisite variety: employment of range of people with different backgrounds and skillsIndustrial Management
  6. 6. 6 EXPERTISE Professional expertise: • includes the mastery of job-related knowledge: technical, professional, or managerial • the motivation to use, develop, and share work-related knowledge with others • Expertise & Challenges => Flow (Csikszentmihalyi) Self-development • different levels • most basic level: used to sustain the current professional and technical expertise • higher levels: extending knowledge beyond the current work tasks or current field of expertise Creative tension (Senge) • is generated by the difference between a vision and a clear picture of current reality (where we are relative to what we want) - a force to bring them togetherIndustrial Management
  7. 7. 7 METHODOLOGY: CASE STUDY 4 TEST GROUPS: Test persons from many industrial branches Technically oriented people GROUP 1: Experienced experts with higher level technical education GROUP 2: Experienced experts with lower level technical education GROUP 3: Less experienced, young experts with higher level tehcnical education GROUP 4: mixed group with bothh young and older experts with both higher and lower level technical education • Expertise minimum: 5 years in project work • Higher education minimum: BSc or MSc or correspondingIndustrial Management
  8. 8. 8 METHODOLOGY: CASE STUDY TWO TEST SETTINGS: 1. Individual test • Four types of innovations were studied: • 4 P = Product, Process, Position, Paradigm • paper and pencil • look at the video • simultaneously capture as many ideas of four innovation types as possible • write them down 2. Pair test • Same procedure with pair • Conversation allowed (and encouraged)Industrial Management
  9. 9. 9 RESULTS Quantity Quality GROUPS 1 SETTING 2nd SETTING 2nd SETTING Average amount ideas per group of ideas 1 (4+7) EXPERIENCED Average: 51,6 Group 1 50 % EXPERTS ideas per group generated Position & Paradigm innovations WITH HIGH altogether most (especially in the Test setting 2) EDUCATION ideas: 77 pcs 2 (11) EXPERIENCED Group 2 generated 44 % of just Product innovations Average: EXPERTS only 3,45 ideas WITH LOWER 15 % more with per person pairs EDUCATION 3 (7) YOUNGER 40 % Position & Paradigm EXPERTS WITH innovations HIGHER EDUCATION Group 4 generated 4 (7) MIXED 65 % of Product & Process most ideas: innovations 10,42 per personIndustrial Management
  10. 10. 10 RESULTS Test setting 1: • ideas by individuals: 0 - 31pcs • 12 ideas on the average Test setting 2: • with pairs 15 % more ideas on the average • people generate even more ideas while working in pairs than as individuals.Industrial Management
  11. 11. 11 RESULTS • the mixed age structure and variation of expertise and experience also influenced on the capability to capture the ideas from the video (group 4) • the lower the education level of the test group was => the less new ideas were generated (group 2) • the higher the education was, the higher the quality of ideas was (group 1 and group 3); process and paradigm innovations => more complex ideas • the highest number of new ideas was generated by the homogeneous group of highly educated expertise in the second phase as working in pairs (group 1) • both the expertise group (group 1) and mixed group (group 4) were able to generate over 70 pieces of different ideas in two times 13 minutes sessionsIndustrial Management
  12. 12. 12 RESULTS • people of all backgrounds generate ideas • requisite variety of expertise adds both to the quantity and quality of idea generation in a group • working additionally with pairs adds considerably to the quantity of the generated ideas  pair working causes stimuli to idea generation and also pairs learn from each other while generating ideas togetherIndustrial Management
  13. 13. 13 CONCLUSIONS The requisite variety of expertise • important feature in idea generation within a group • grows the quantity of the generated ideas • expertise generate more complex ideas, but  Innovations require a lot of new ideas – and especially different types of ideas Working in pairs: • Two people working together generate greater number of ideas than two individuals accumulated singularly • people learn from each other during idea generation Working in a project work context: • working in mixed groups conducts more new ideas => fruitful to have mixed aged groups • expertise is partially based on experience • variation in individual’s capability to idea generation creates a risk of failure in innovation process, whereas working in teams reduces the risk significantly Organizations should build up groups with people having various types of expertise and ages; also working as pairs or within a group should be encouraged, in order the idea generation to flourish in organizationsIndustrial Management
  14. 14. 14 THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION CONTACT INFORMATION Tampere University of Technology at Pori PL 300, 28101 PORI, FINLAND Anu Suominen E-mail: GSM: +358 40 556 2303 Jari Jussila E-mail: GSM: +358 407178345Industrial Management