Tag Archives: Career Development

Career Development

Consequences of “Facades of Conformity”

Patricia Hewlin

Patricia Hewlin

Employees, especially minority group members, adopt Façades of conformity (FOC) when they “act as if” they embrace an organization’s values to remain employed or to succeed in that organization, found Georgetown University’s Patricia Hewlin.

Facades of Conformity can lead to employees developing “rationalizations” that enable them to carry out distasteful or even assignments, found University of Alberta’s Flora Stormer and Kay Devine of Athabasca University.

Jerome Kerviel

Jerome Kerviel

This may explain Jerome Kerviels experience at Societe General.
He was branded as a “rogue trader,” though he seemed not to personally benefit from unauthorized trades.

He and others explained his motivation to please his managers and to earn a bonus based on his trades, in the context of his “outsider status” as someone who had not attended elite universities and was not considered a “star.”

-*In what organizational contexts have you observed “Facades of Conformity” and their consequences?

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Three Approaches to Identifying a Career Path

-*What’s the best way to find your professional path?

Mark Savickas

Mark Savickas

Career interventions have evolved over the past 70 years from individual differences assessment to occupational development to current emphasis on life planning.
Vocational guidance was supplanted by “career education,” focused on fulfilling developmental tasks and adapting to occupational requirements.
More recently, “career counseling” built on the preceding approaches by considering each individual as the designer and author of a career path.

Mark Savickas of Northeast Ohio Medical University traced this incremental change, and noted that “each time that society has changed the prevalent form of employment, psychology has changed its methods of career intervention to help people deal with new identity issues and lifestyle problems.”

John Holland

John Holland

Early attempts to help people find their occupational paths focused on matching six personality prototypes incorporating six related value types with six associated vocational categories, thanks to John Holland of Johns Hopkins, who developed the Self Directed Search assessment.

Holland's Six Career Themes

Holland’s Six Career Themes

Individual were seen as “actors” who needed to match individual differences with occupations that best fit these characteristics.

John Crites

John Crites

Next came an emphasis on careers as a developmental challenge that requires adaptation and training to develop new attitudes, beliefs, and competencies that foster their vocational adaptation.

Donald Super

Donald Super

People were seen as “agents” striving to develop into an occupational role, with insight from assessments including the Career Maturity Inventory by University of Maryland’s John Crites and Career Development, Assessment, and Counseling (C-DAC) conceived by Donald Super of University of Connecticut.

Careers are currently seen as a “narrative construction” or a “life design project” drawing on emotion valence, autobiographical career stories and life themes that suggest professional construction and reconstruction.

Individuals are seen as “authors” of their career narrative in context of a life story.
Savickas developed this constructivist perspective to serve “workers in societies that have de-standardized the life course and de-jobbed employment” after applying Holland’s individual differences approach and developmental views of Crites and Super.

Three Career Development Approaches

Three Career Development Approaches

Paul Hartung

Paul Hartung

To enable this career narrative, Savickas and Northeast Ohio Medical University colleague Paul Hartung developed a structured career interview.
This “Autobiographical Workbook” asks people to share stories about self, identity, and career, including inquiries about role models, favorite magazines, how they made important decisions, and what their parents wanted for their lives to uncover prevailing interests, values, concerns, and precipitants to action.Career Construction Interview

Ludwig Wittgenstein

Ludwig Wittgenstein

This approach helps people “envision how to use work to actively master what they passively suffer” and “fit work into life rather than life into work” by collecting stories about “…how a person constructed a career, then deconstructs and reconstructs these stories into an identity narrative, and finally co-constructs intentions that lead to action in the real world.
Narrative Construction and Life Design perspectives echo Ludwig Wittgenstein’s observation that problems are solved not by giving information but by rearranging what we already know.

In this collection and rearrangement process, Savickas sees the individual as a career architect whereas a career consultant is like a carpenter who suggests recombinations in light of current needs and future goals while respecting interests, values, and strengths.

This process also enables new perspectives on more productive approaches to past challenges when encountered in future contexts, working around obstacles, and drawing on past examples of competence and self-efficacy.

  • Which perspective on career development most guided your selection of work paths?

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Four Leadership Behaviors Differentiate Top Performing Organizations

Ralph M. Stogdill

Ralph M. Stogdill

Effective leadership is a critical part of organizational health and growth and an important driver of shareholder returns, according to Ohio State’s Ralph M. Stogdill with McKinsey’s Aaron De Smet, Bill Schaninger, with Matthew Smith.

Bill Schaninger

Bill Schaninger

Consistent with this report, more than 90 percent of CEOs said they plan to increase investment in leadership development because they see it as their single most important human-capital issue, reported McKinsey’s Claudio Feser, Fernanda Mayol, and Ramesh Srinivasan.
However, only 43 percent of CEOs reported confidence that leadership training investments will render an acceptable ROI.

McKinsey Organizational Health Index Top Leadership Qualities

To more accurately target developable leadership behaviors associated with superior organizational performance, McKinsey identified 20 critical leadership traits then surveyed 189,000 people in 81 organizations of varying sizes across industries.

Claudio Feser

Claudio Feser

They segmented organizations by leadership effectiveness measured by McKinsey’s Organizational Health Index, and focused on companies in the top quartile and bottom quartile.

The team reported that four skills closely correlate with effective leadership and explained 89 percent of the variance in leadership effectiveness between top-performing organizations and lowest-performing organizations:

  • Effective problem solving by gathering, analyzing, and considering information before taking a decision,
  • Operating with a strong results orientation, developing and communicating a vision and setting objectives to efficiently achieve results,
  • Seeking different perspectives by monitoring trends affecting organizations and the external environment and by encouraging employees to suggest improvements,
  • Supporting others by demonstrating authenticity and sincere interest in colleagues to build trust and help others manage challenges.

Ramesh Srinivasan

Ramesh Srinivasan

A related post outlines other findings of top leadership competencies required for optimal organizational performance, including “Big Eight Competencies” described by Lominger’s Voices® 360˚ Assessment:

• Dealing with Ambiguity
• Creativity
• Innovation Management
• Strategic Agility
• Planning
• Motivating Others
• Building Effective Teams
• Managing Vision and Purpose.

-*Which leadership behaviors do you find most imperative?

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Women’s Career Development Model – Individual Action in Career Planning and the Contest and Sponsorship Pathways to Advancement – Part 1 of 2

Ines Wichert

Ines Wichert

Ines Wichart of Kenexa High Performance Institute (KHPI), a subsidiary of IBM, proposed a model of women’s career development that focuses on:

  • The individual
  • The immediate work environment
  • The organizational context

She identified four behaviors that individuals can execute to increase the likelihood of career advancement:

  • Career planning 
  • Opportunity-seeking, Negotiation
  • Career-building networking; Mentoring-Sponsorship     
  • Skillful self-promotion

Ralph Turner

Ralph Turner

Kenexa Career Development Model-Individual Behaviors

Kenexa Career Development Model-Individual Behaviors

Within the domain of Career Planning, Ralph Turner, then of UCLA, proposed two ways that people advance their careers based on measures of promotions obtained and progression in the organizational hierarchy:

  • Contest Pathway is an open, merit-based system that enables career advancement by evaluating past accomplishments and impact

    Kenexa Career Progression Pathways- Contest and Sponsorship

    Kenexa Career Progression Pathways- Contest and Sponsorship

  • Sponsorship Pathway is a closed system in which candidates for advancement are chosen by senior leaders based “promotability” or “future potential“ to undertake and excel in future challenges

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

More than a century and a half ago, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow anticipated this distinction between the the contest and sponsorship pathways when he proposed how people assess  their performance:
We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.”

Thomas Ng

Thomas Ng

Lillian Eby

Lillian Eby

More recent work by Thomas Ng and Kelly Sorensen, then of University of Georgia with their colleagues Lillian Eby and Daniel Feldman, found that women excel in the Contest Pathway, which requires:

Daniel Feldman

Daniel Feldman

  • Initiative
  • Risk-taking
  • Perseverance  

Amy Hurley Hanson

Amy Hurley Hanson

Jeffrey Sonnenfeld

Jeffrey Sonnenfeld

In contrast, Amy Hurley-Hanson of Chapman University and Yale’s Jeffrey Sonnenfeld  as well as Cranfield’s Susan Vinnicombe and Val Singh found that men tend to excel in the Sponsorship Pathway, based on:

Susan Vinnicombe

Susan Vinnicombe

  • Val Singh

    Val Singh

    Skillful networking

  • Visibility
  • Reputation for delivering outstanding results
  • Promoting accomplishments  

Philip Roth

Philip Roth

Philip Bobko

Philip Bobko

Another reason that women are not part of the Sponsorship Pathway as frequently as men is that women are less likely to be viewed as “promotable” even though men and women are rated equally effective as leaders, according to findings by Philip Roth of Clemson University, Kristen Purvis then of Cornell University, Philip Bobko of Gettysburg College.

  • How have you seen the Contest Pathway and the Sponsorship Pathway operate in your career advancement?
  • How do you “actively manage” your career toward advancement in the Contest Pathway or the Sponsorship Pathway?

Next: Women’s Career Development Model – Part 2 of 2Negotiation, Networking-Mentoring-Sponsorship, Skillful Self-Promotion

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Women’s Career Development Model – Individual Action in Negotiation, Networking-Mentoring-Sponsorship, Skillful Self-Promotion – Part 2 of 2

Kenexa Career Development Model-Individual Behaviors

Kenexa Career Development Model-Individual Behaviors

Part 1 of this post, Women’s Career Development Model – Individual Action in Career Planning and the Contest and Sponsorship Pathways to Advancement – Part 1 of 2,  highlighted Ines Wichart’s model of women’s career development with three levels and 11 components, based on her research as Kenexa High Performance Institute (KHPI), a subsidiary of IBM.

Ines Wichert

Ines Wichert

She outlined four behaviors that individuals can control or influence toward career advancement:

  • Career planning 
  • Opportunity-seeking, Negotiation
  • Career-building networking; Mentoring-Sponsorship    
  • Skillful self-promotion

The first segment of this two-part post considered facets of Career Planning and two independent paths to career advancement: Contest and Sponsorship routes.

Let’s consider the additional elements that respond to individual attention and efforts, including Opportunity-seeking while embracing risk.  

Susan Vinnicombe

Susan Vinnicombe

Val Singh

Val Singh

Highly effective career advancement opportunities include stretch assignments and on-the-job training.

Susan Vinnicombe and Val Singh of Cranfield University report that these development activities are most effective in building credibility, visibility, reputation as a capable, well-rounded leader.

However, their research found that women need more encouragement to take on challenging assignments than men, who are more likely to ask for these assignments.

Linda Babcock

Linda Babcock

Similarly, Linda Babcock reported that women tend to need encouragement to ask for promotions and salary increases.

Her research demonstrated that women are less likely to negotiate for their first salaries, unless they know that these are acceptable practices.

Manhattan CollegeAs a countermeasure, Babcock recommends negotiation practices demonstrated to mitigate negative perceptions by both men and women negotiation partners

Like Babcock, Mary Wade’s research at Manhattan College found that both men and women evaluated more negatively women who negotiated for salary using the same script as men.

Corinne Moss-Racusin

Corinne Moss-Racusin

Laurie Rudman

Laurie Rudman

Corinne Moss-Racusin and Laurie Rudman replicated this disconcerting finding at Rutgers University, leading to their formulation of “The Backlash Avoidance Model” (BAM)”.

According to this construct, women may demonstrate traditional gender role behaviors to mitigate “backlash” of negative reaction by men and women to “role discrepant” behaviors like asking for career advancement and commensurate compensation.

  • What approaches have been effective when you have asked for a salary increase or promotion?
         –How did you prepare?

         -How did you overcome objections?
  • When people ask you for a salary increase or promotion, what negotiation approaches have been most effective?
              -What have been least effective?

Wichart’s model of individual initiatives toward career advancement points to the importance of skillful professional networking, mentoring, and sponsorship.

National Center for Women and Information TechnologyNational Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) reported that nearly half of technical women surveyed said they lack role models and mentors, and 84% said they lack sponsors.
The result is that these women are four times more likely to leave the current job role.

One reason that women’s professional networking efforts and seeking mentors may yield less effective career advancement than men:  Women tend to engage in professional networking for affiliation and emotional support with people close to their job level whereas men tend to network for career development with people significantly above the job level, according to Adelina Broadbridge of University of Stirling.University of Stirling

As a result of these differing approaches to professional networking, men may enjoy more rapid career advancement due to visibility and sponsorship.

Pamela Perrewe

Pamela Perrewe

F. Randy Blass

F. Randy Blass

In addition, women are likely to demonstrate less political understanding and insight because mentors are not sufficiently senior, according to Florida State University’s F. Randy Blass, Pamela Perrewe, and Gerald Ferris with Robyn Brouer of SUNY Buffalo.

Gerald Ferris

Gerald Ferris

Robyn Brouer

Robyn Brouer

Organizational support for formal and informal mentoring has been shown to increase employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention.

Therefore, organizations concerned with retaining talented women and minorities can increase the likelihood of keeping skilled employees by initiating structured mentoring programs and encouraging selective sponsorship.

  •  How have mentors and sponsors enabled your career moves?
  •  How do you decide who you are willing to mentor or sponsor?   

Previous posts have shared much current research and leading recommendations in building personal brand and practicing skillful self-promotion:

In light of the potential negative perceptions of women who showcase their accomplishments as they ask for salary increases and role advancement:

  •   How do you raise awareness of your accomplishments’ impact to avoid “backlash”?
  •   How do you define, develop, and communicate, “skillfully promote” your personal brand?

These research findings suggest three parting suggestions for women who want to Play Bigger:

  1. Question the thought that “I’m not ready yet.”
  2. Develop resilience and “a thick skin”:   If you are doing something innovative or important, you may draw both praise and criticism when you are noticed.
  3. Filter advice:  Implement recommendations that have “the ring of truth” and “resonate”;
    leave the rest.
  • What is the most helpful career advice you implemented?
  • What career advice have you decided not to implement?

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Career Navigation by Embracing Uncertainty

John Krumboltz

John Krumboltz

John Krumboltz of Stanford echoes the message in an earlier blog post, Is Career “Planning” Actually Career “Improvisation”? in his book, Luck is No Accident: Making the Most of Happenstance in Your Life and Career  Luck is no accident

He notes that people can’t control outcomes of unpredictable life and career situations, but he advocates paying attention to thoughts and actions that hinder progress toward goals — and to modify them with small steps.

Related Post:
Creating Productive Thought Patterns through “Thought Self-Leadership”

Increased mindful attention to habitual patterns can set the conditions for desired outcomes by planning contingencies for undesirable eventualities.

Part of this process is being:

  • Open to possibilities that diverge from an original plan
  • Willing to consider unexpected opportunities
  • Able to risk mistakes and rejection.

This may see demanding and undesirable for goal-directed people with a plan, but Krumboltz’s research demonstrates the effectiveness of these guidelines and other familiar recommendations:

  • Research areas of interest
  • Network
  • Ask for what you want
  • Keep learning

Daniel Pink

Daniel Pink

Similarly, Daniel Pink advises flexibility in career “planning” in his anime-like The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need and questions whether there can be a career “plan”, given many unpredictable possibilities.The Adventures of Johnny Bunko

Like Peter Drucker and Donald Clifton before him, Pink urges building on existing strengths and finding ways to compensate for less strong areas, rather than investing effort in remedying them.

Donalid Clifton

Donalid Clifton

In addition to familiar suggestions – persist in taking on ambitious challenges while learning from them – he recommends focusing on solving problems for others, and finding a niche to deliver valuable results.Now Discover Your Strengths

This service-orientation pays dividends as a career development strategy and in “making a difference” in the community and one’s family.

DrivePink’s later book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us ,   draws on Frederick Herzberg’s delineation of intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation.

Frederick Herzberg

Frederick Herzberg

People are motivated, Pink says, by career roles that provide opportunities for:

  • Autonomy, exerting control over work content and context
  • Mastery, improving skill in work over time through persistence, effort, corrective feedback
  • Purpose, participating in an inspiring goal

Related Post:
Finding Work You Love, Measuring Your Life

Pink’s TED Talk demonstrates his passionate advocacy for replacing traditional rewards and recognition with “Motivation 2.0” that provides opportunities for autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

Edward Deci - Richard Ryan

Edward Deci – Richard Ryan

Draw on strengths

Pink cites Edward Deci’s and Richard Ryan‘s Cognitive Evaluation Theory (CET) that investigated variability in intrinsic motivation, and Deci’s Why We Do What We Do: Understanding Self-Motivation which advised managers to adopt “autonomy-supportive”   behaviors to encourage employees’ intrinsic motivation.Why we do what we do

These varied studies suggest the value of flexibility in career “planning” to capitalize on serendipitous opportunities, and seeking work roles that:

  • Draw on strengths
  • Enable intrinsic motivators like autonomy, purpose, mastery, and affiliation, instead of focusing primarily on monetary or status rewards.

-*How do you navigate your career in the face of incomplete information about future outcomes?

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How Can Dance Inform Business Thinking?

Peter Lovatt

Peter Lovatt founded the Dance Psychology Lab at the University of Hertfordshire, which combines his performance experience as a professional dancer with his training as a research psychologist.

In several TED talks, he marvels at his career trajectory because he “was rubbish at school,” and was relegated to Special Education classes, probably due to his undiagnosed ADHD.

His career demonstrates an innovative synthesis of disciplines with his current research agenda investigating the impact of dance on problem solving using divergent thinking and convergent thinking strategies.

Peter Lovatt at TED

Lovatt’s experiments demonstrated that volunteers who engaged in improvised dance movements solved divergent thinking problems more quickly than when they performed more structured dance maneuvers, or no movement at all.

Similarly, his work showed these volunteers increased their speed of solving convergent thinking problems after they engaged in choreographed dance moves.

These findings may not imply that innovation teams should engage in structured and unstructured movements at work, but it does support the positive impact of dance movement on neural processing speed and problem solving.

Lovatt extended this work to patients with Parkinson’s disease, known to disrupt divergent thinking processes, to validate his findings with normal volunteers.
He demonstrated that Parkinson’s disease patients improved the divergent thinking problem solving after they engaged in improvised dance sequences, and hypothesized that these patients develop new neural pathways to “work around” dopamine-depleted blockages.

Peter Lovatt leading dance experiment

Lovatt’s group found increases in self-esteem among participants in dance styles that:

  • Include more improvisational elements (“high degree of tolerance for not getting it right”),
  • Are gender or culturally neutral
  • Raise the heart rate
  • Are repetitive
  • Encourage looser fitting clothes (in contrast to ballet)
  • Are non-competitive

Related Post on impact of dance:
Oxytocin Increases Empathic Work Relationships, Workplace Trust, Generosity 

Twyla Tharp

MacArthur Fellowship and Tony Award-winning choreographer Twyla Tharp discussed innovation and collaboration through the lens of dance in two books with lessons applicable to business.

In The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life she asserts that creative expression requires perseverance, practice, hard work, “showing up,” and cultivating systematic habits to act upon innovative initiative.

This echoes the action-orientation advocated by Malcolm Gladwell in his observation of 10,000 hours of practice to develop virtuoso performance and by sports psychologist K. Anders Ericsson, summarized in these related posts:

Tharp’s The Collaborative Habit: Life Lessons for Working Together discusses both how collaboration can change the participants, and practical approaches to collaborative creation – which she acknowledges has not been completely smooth in some of her work with luminaries including Richard Avedon, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Bob Dylan, Milos Forman,  Norma Kamali, Frank Sinatra.
Two related posts on Collaboration are:

Dance provides a fresh perspective and metaphor for business challenges including problem solving, innovation, and collaboration.

-*How do you react to Lovatt’s and Tharp’s application of movement in problem solving, collaboration and innovation?

Squeeze a Ball, Improve Performance under Pressure

Jürgen Beckmann

Improve performance under pressure by squeezing a ball or clenching the non-dominant hand before competition to activate specific motor regions of the brain, according to Jürgen Beckmann and his research team, who studied experienced soccer players, tae kwon do experts and badminton players.

The Journal of Experimental Psychology: General reported that right-handed athletes who squeezed a ball in their left hand before competing were less like to “choke under pressure” than right-handed players who squeeze a ball in their right hand.

Beckmann and collaborators Peter Gröpel and Felix Ehrlenspiel noted that when athletes don’t perform well “under pressure,” they may be focusing on their own movements rather than relying on automatic motor skills developed through repeated practice – or “muscle memory.”

They explained, “Rumination can interfere with concentration and performance on motor tasks … Many movements…can be impaired by attempts at consciously controlling them. This technique can be helpful for many situations and tasks.”

Iris Hung

Iris Hung

Other applications include business situations like presentations or negotiations, or helping elderly people improve balance by clenching a ball before walking or climbing stairs.
Iris Hung the National University of Singapore found additional applications: Avoiding the temptation of sugary snacks in a cafeteria, enduring physical pain, and disturbing information.

Hendrie Weisinger

Hendrie Weisinger, whose best-seller Nobody’s Perfect was the first of 8 books, integrates this finding with other research-based recommendations to manage performance pressure with “Nerves of Steel.” His new book is scheduled for release by Random House in 2013.

His other books, including Emotional Intelligence at Work and Anger at Work, along with video excerpts are available on his website.

-*How do you maintain performance when experiencing pressure?

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“Greenlight Group”: No-cost, Self-managed Support to Achieve Professional, Personal Goals

Gary Burlingame

Gary Burlingame recently published a meta-analysis of 40 studies that demonstrate the efficacy of groups for a number of conditions, and Dennis Kivlighan noted that group success is associated with participants’:

  • Shared purpose
  • Common identity
  • Social support through interaction
  • Reciprocal influence of the members on one another
  • Interpersonal feedback to reduce idiosyncratic individual perspectives and attitudes.

Dennis Kivlighan

In addition, groups can benefit more people at lower cost than individual coaching.

An example of these principles at work was reported recently at a large Silicon Valley technology company.

Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson

Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson [@JHartnettHender] organized a “Greenlight Group”, based on Keith Ferrazzi’s model outlined in his book, Who’s Got Your Back?

Using a “snowball” recruitment strategy, she brought together five individuals from different internal organizations, in varied roles and job levels.

The goal was to meet six times as a team over a 90 day period, to help each other achieve their most challenging professional and personal goals by giving each other feedback, supporting each other, and holding each other accountable to progress.

She outlined the benefits of “Greenlight Groups”, and executives at the company were impressed with the value proposition when they learned about it via “word-of-mouth”:

  • Self-manage career goals with no-cost peer support
  • Achieve personal goals
  • Access confidential peer support, feedback from trusted advisors

Over the six meetings:

  • Two participants transferred to new internal roles at higher grade levels
  • Two participants achieved greater work-life balance by reducing number of weekly work hours to less than 55 per week
  • Two participants dramatically increased social media presence
  • Two participants explored internal and external career opportunities
  • Two participants explored monetizing entrepreneurial opportunities
  • Two participants initiated weight-reduction program
  • One participant initiated exercise program
  • One participant increased exercise time and performance

This example suggests the value of self-organized, mutual-assistance groups to achieve professional and personal goals over a defined time period.

-*What self-managed career development programs have been effective in your workplaces?

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How and Who of Innovation

Many innovation experts urge overcoming roadblocks by “doing something different”, and Alex Cornell joins the chorus in his Breakthrough!: Proven Strategies to Overcome Creative Block and Spark Your Imagination 

In contrast, Tom Kelley offered more specific guidance in the stages of “how” innovation is managed at IDEO in   
  The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America’s Leading Design Firm:

•              Analyze the market, potential client groups, technology, and constraints for each innovation problem
•              Observe people in typical life situations
•              Visualize novel concepts and their intended customers
•              Evaluate and refine prototypes during rapid iterations
•              Implement new concept for commercialization

Steven Johnson offers seven non-linear principles of innovation in Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation:                                                          

•              Adjacent possible: Timing is essential for innovation to be accepted

•              Liquid networks: Connections between different disciplines to enable ideas development and implementation

•              Slow hunch: Insights incubate, germinate over time before becoming executable

•              Serendipity: Spontaneous, chance juxtaposition of ideas applied to other

•              Error: Outcomes considered “failures” from numerous trials  may lead to – and be required – to successfully implement ideas

•              Exaptation: Reusing existing ideas, technologies for a different purpose

•              Platforms: Adapting, recombining existing knowledge, components, implementation approaches to develop something new

Expert innovators seem to follow these guidelines and have developed skill through what Geoff Colvin calls “Deliberate Practice” in “What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else”, the sub-title of his book, Talent is Overrated.

He notes that Deliberate Practice is not considered “fun”, but is a highly demanding and repeated mental challenge, systematically designed to improve performance with consistent expert monitoring and feedback.

Colvin’s premise is based on K. Anders Ericsson’s classic Harvard Business Review article, “The Making of an Expert“, which outlines three contributors to superior performance across disciplines:

•             Deliberate Practice to improve existing skills and to extend the reach and range of skills
•             Expert coaching with consistent monitoring and corrective feedback
•              Support from family and mentors

Kelley of IDEO focused more recently on the “who” of innovation in The Ten Faces of Innovation: IDEO’s Strategies for Defeating the Devil’s Advocate and Driving Creativity Throughout Your Organization, organized by Learning, Building, and Organizing capabilities:                     

•              Experience
•              Set Designer
•              Caregiver
•              Storyteller
•              Anthropologist
•              Cross-pollinator
•              Hurdler
•              Experimenter
•              Collaborator
•              Director
Meredith Belbin offered similar analysis of eight team roles in his Team Roles at Work  and Management Teams: Why they succeed or fail  to ignite collaborative strategy definition and execution.   

These findings suggest that processes and practices can help shape innovation, but consistent, focused and attentive practice increases capacity to innovate more than “natural talent” — validating the well-known homespun advice to “work hard” and demonstrate a “strong work ethic.”

-*What processes and roles do you use to increase innovation at work?

Related post:  
It’s Mostly Random, So Just Do Something: Suggestions to Guide Innovation, Creativity

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