Innovation Future Trends and New Patterns: More Innovative Than Google?


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Text comes from: Musterbrecher. Die Kunst das Spiel zu drehen (2013) from Dr. Stefan Kaduk, published by Murmann Verlag, Reprints by friendly permission of the publisher.
Copyright:  Picture material from Musterbrecher.

Many are familiar with the following example: Google requires its developers to use 20 percent of their working time as “creative time” not for organization, but for innovation. Nobody has to justify what they use this one day a week for.

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Dr. Stefan Kaduk stefan-kaduk-fotoDr. Stefan Kaduk is a management researcher and bestselling author.

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The Google idea further thought

Everyone decides for themselves, with whom and with whom he wants to work in this time. In other Company something similar is done. Employees go to sabbaticals, sit in other areas or take part in “change of page programs”.

We picked up these ideas and developed them further. We encouraged employees to work as researchers in their own company. Who would be better suited to this than so-called potential forces, whose above-average motivation we assumed. The removal from everyday work, according to our assumption, would not only serve the development of the participant but also directly benefit the company.

Leadership without result

We were able to convince the personnel managers of a classically structured energy industry group of our idea: In a two-day workshop, we discussed with the potential candidates what it means to experiment boldly and experimentally in the management and organizational context.

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We showed examples from ten years of experimental accompaniment and discussed the prerequisites for the success of this procedure. In the end, three groups formed, one of which set up the following research hypothesis:

Half a day creative time per week

"If we give our employees half a day of creative time per week, then new ideas will emerge that have a very positive effect on our company's culture of innovation."

Although the Board of Managing Directors had approved the program for potential candidates, we thought it would be sensible to additionally win a promoter from top management. Mr. S., a very smart, young board, was enthusiastic about the idea and commitment of potential candidates.

4 Questions about innovation management

He said his support. Already in the design of the experiment, several questions arose:

  1. What costs are involved if the employees are only creative, but not productive for half a day?
  2. What hostility from other departments are to be feared?
  3. How can employees really use their creative time as such?
  4. How do you solve the conflict between the day-to-day task and the creative time?

How structured should creative time be?

Some suggested structuring the creative time. The others disagreed because you can not be creative on command. The one required documentation, the others did not exactly want that. It turned out that these were insoluble problems.

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In our opinion, should be tried without any prescription, and one should be surprised by the result. Finally, an overall concept for the experiment was developed and a test group selected. Kick-off workshops were planned to explain the project. They only waited for the starting shot.

If the organization strikes

But then the organizational logic increased. Because Mr. S. wanted to present the results to his colleagues at the next board meeting, the creative time experiment was translated into the templates of an investment application.

Benefits and goals were anticipated, resource requirements were calculated, and ultimately the open experiment was demoted to the project using milestones. And since only board members were allowed to present in this committee, our research group was available for further questions. Mr. S. presented behind closed door.

Leadership as a counterweight to the organization

In the run-up, it was emphasized several times that it was only a formal act. The experiment was not at stake because Mr. S. knew his colleagues and he would do so only in his own area of ​​responsibility. But it came quite differently: without further explanation, the Board stopped all initiatives. The only comment: In times of savings and efficiency increase fit this kind of experiment not to the course of the organization.

At our urging, Mr. S. was ready to personally inform the potential staff of this decision. There was a showdown two months later. At the end of his monologue, Mr. S. said, “I have now learned that there is hardly any other chance for me than to realize myself at home with the family after 18.00:XNUMX pm. This creates a counterweight because the real development in the company does not succeed. ”

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This experiment illustrates the importance of leadership as a counterbalance to the anti-innovation organizational environment. Leadership should, in the sense of the metaphor of feeling in psychic systems, choose other options than those already provided by the organization. Otherwise, the new can only emerge subversive or distant from the organization - or not at all.


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