Author(s): Brian Jud
This article describes the process of innovation planning and the types of plans developed during good times and bad. Scenario planning during good times could have gone a long way in preventing and preparing for disruptive events such as the chaos that BP, Plc (BP) found itself in after the Gulf of Mexico disaster. BP, the government, and the oil industry were ill-prepared with inadequate scenario and disaster planning. Since oil issues transcend companies and countries, industry organizations are probably the best candidates to have done more scenario and contingency planning. Scenario planning naturally leads to Disaster Recovery Plans (DRPs) that are robust, tested, and practiced. This was missing in several places and several ways in the BP spill. Not having good DRPs contributed to a lack of ability to deal with such a major disaster, and the inability to rapidly develop a survival plan. The overwhelming response of ideas and inventions, some 60,000 suggestions in the first 2 months, overwhelmed BP. A huge opportunity for innovation was lost. Using group collaboration concepts BP could have, and should have, gathered, prioritize and assessed this flood of ideas. For BP, combining workgroups and teams of experts would have allowed for rapid innovation during a time of idea overload. Collaborative techniques like Wikipedia would have allowed BP to use the wisdom of crowds to process and prioritize solutions. An analysis of Wikipedia and the content pages used for this research is included in the Appendix.
This article, by L.D.W. Anderson, discusses five forecasting methods along with the power and purpose of each method. Methods discussed include trend analysis, trend extrapolation, cross impact analysis, the Delphi method, and scenario development. There is one sample graphic for each of the tools. Forecasting can be a key element in formulating effective strategic plans in education, health care, manufacturing, construction, utilities, retail, transportation, information management, government, and additional technical areas such as renewable energy. Forecasting is neither art nor science; it is an elegant combination of both. Formal forecasting tools provide a systematic and practical framework to explore the future. Adoption and implementation of technological innovations are more likely to be successful if studied in two specific ways. First, to be most successful, study the technology in advance of any commitment. Second, provide the opportunity for the people involved to acknowledge their normal human bias. This article goes further to discuss paradigms that will allow decision makers to reduce biases when using forecasting tools. The tendency to think of forecasting as a good guess causes some leaders to shy away. Forecasting is not just a good guess. Forecasting is a sophisticated tool to navigate to practical and important technological innovations.
Jordan’s dissertation research in 2010 suggests that the death of the computer chip, and possibly the companies in that industry, is far closer than prior research estimated. Jordan’s Delphi participants predicted what technology will replace the silicon chips of the past, and estimated when that technology will emerge. Jordan’s dissertation was a qualitative descriptive study using a modified Delphi technique to explore how the leaders of the semiconductor industry react to emerging materials with devices smaller than the current theoretical limit of 10 nanometers for materials such as silicon dioxide. The study addressed the time frame for when these new technologies may emerge, the potential impacts that emergence may have on organizational structures and the leadership techniques best adapted to facilitate that emergence. The study respondents forecasted that within 20 to 30 years a new technology would emerge that will replace silicon dioxide, and that replacement technology would likely be protein based. The respondents suggested that an organizational structure of meritocracy and transformational leadership techniques would best facilitate that emergence. When the emergence occurs, it will be interesting to see if it will be disruptive to existing organizational paradigms. It will also be fascinating to see how disruptive these new innovations will be, especially for such companies as Intel.
Organizations that want innovation to be a core competency for competitive advantage must have cultures that nurture new ways of doing things and turn those ideas into opportunities. Too much of the focus on innovation has been on the technology of new products and services, when in reality, work environments where people feel accountable for operational excellence and customer satisfaction generate more breakthroughs than research labs. Creating a culture of innovation is a leadership challenge addressed with strategies of influence that motivate and develop individuals and collective work through behaviors, practices, processes and tools that become the cultural foundation of the organization.
Leadership has evolved throughout the centuries from Great Man through 21st century transactional and transformational leadership theories. Previous theories were patriarchal, created on an intentional linear, horizontal path toward goal outcomes (Field, 2010); defined as one person, beyond question, making final decisions authoritatively; a singular, ultimate leader (Kanyoro, 2006). 21st Century leadership is a blend of patriarchal and evolving matriarchal that includes singular (patriarchal) and shared (matriarchal) leadership (Kanyoro, 2006). Matriarchal leadership is created on a spiral not a linear path. Choosing a spiral path adds intuition, receptivity, relatedness, and wholeness to linear goal outcomes to create cycles of fulfillment to goal completion (Field, 2010).
The 3Ps of Leadership is a matriarchal theory, a deceptively simplistic model that assists leaders to transition out of patriarchal, 20th Century authoritative leadership toward matriarchal, 21st Century shared leadership. As technological innovations require employees to work smarter, quicker, and from more locations, the 3Ps will assist leaders to ensure their 21st Century employees are fully engaged; employee morale is high; and that employees, managers, and leaders have the potential toward professional and organizational fulfillment and actualization. Adding the 3Ps of Leadership to Schuttler’s Laws of Communication (2008) and Tuckman’s Group Development Model (1965) creates a new, synergetic triangulation of theories to assist managers to turn nebulous everyday commands into succinct, sustainable team successes.
How we measure inequalities in the labour market such as gender pay gaps and male dominated boardrooms generate a repetitive cycle of static questions rather than provide answers. Competition as a lens offers new ways of re-evaluating current gender equality debates while adding new perspectives to gendered processes in management. As an area of research, competition is largely neglected in the gender and management body of work. Exploring how as both a concept and a practice, competition can operate in organisations and in the individual careers of men and women managers is an opportunity to examine different relationships at work. This includes examining gender performance, individualization, stereotypes and management styles, all of which contribute to building a framework for understanding and engaging with competition and competitive relations.
The successful implementation of a marketing strategy requires that an organization’s performance, as well as that of the product or service, be assessed. This challenge becomes more difficult when the service consists of innovative, intangible learning experiences, such as those offered in a graduate degree program. Institutions of Higher Learning that offer master’s degree programs in organizational leadership have taken up the challenge and have achieved notable results. Data compiled in a 2008 study of master’s degree programs in organizational leadership indicated that the institutions that participated in the survey have implemented processes for assessing student outcomes from their degree programs. Those assessment processes have produced actionable knowledge, which the institutions have been able to use in making further innovations in their program offerings and learning experiences. The data also indicated that the degree programs provided graduates with actionable knowledge, enabling them to improve their leadership performance in organizational settings.
In the wake of global economic disasters, environmental chaos, political upheaval, dishonesty in business and frightening, massive fundamental changes in our healthcare system, organizations are being challenged to creatively innovate a future for the highest good of the communities they serve. The charted history of organizational change exposes leadership interest in transformation as a constant reality as far back as 535 BC when Heraclitus was described as the ‘great philosopher of eternal change’ (Kirk, Raven, & Schofield, 1995). This organizational bias toward change is driven by strong visionary leadership that rewards inventive acts that favor renewal and maintain the organization’s solvency. Significant models of change generated by recognized theorists and thinkers such as Kurt Lewin and Edgar Schein whose critical contributions add value to the organizational change literature, established the foundation for creative innovation. This article is a detailed synthesis, analysis, and critique of the change models presented by Kurt Lewin, Edgar Schein, and a look at three models of creative innovation: the Army of Entrepreneurs, Design-inspired corporate citizenship, and the four pillars of organizational success. These models were discussed with regard to their utility, contribution, and relevance to contemporary change concepts within organizations.
The challenges that homeless people, especially children, must deal with on a daily basis are often overlooked and no one knows the exact number of homeless students in a given school district. Homeless numbers are based upon services provided to homeless students by the school district and other service providers. Not all of the homeless students are receiving supportive services. A disconnect happens when the parents of homeless students are not aware of the services being offered by the schools to assist their children.
Several suggestions are being offered to schools districts to help them to better inform their students concerning services offered to homeless students. Since parents reported only occasionally receiving or even knowing about the services, implementing one or more of these suggestions would increase the likelihood that the parents would request these services for their children. Also, some of these suggestions will not significantly increase costs to the school districts to implement.
These services will greatly increase the homeless students’ chances of improving in school. It is important for the success of homeless students that their parents, caregivers or guardians, are provided with this information. The suggestions listed may not all work for your school; however, implementing some of these suggestions would increase awareness among homeless families.
This Epilogue offers the mission statement for the Refractive Thinker® Series, as well as an in depth explanation of the refractive thinking concept.