Wikis Mean Business!

wiki way

  The success of an organization is attributed to the quality of communication internally of a corporation as well as externally. Communication conducted is generally with employees, shareholders, suppliers and/or clients (consumers).  Methods used for this communication has evolved throughout the years. In the past businesses were only able to communicate and facilitate projects and other  activities through face-to-face communication, mail services as well as traditional television or print advertising. Those methods were affective, however, they were also costly, time consuming and restricted to specific jurisdictions. With the creation of the Internet and specifically email, communication was made easier and more efficient. Individuals are able to send documents, advertisements and/or communicate  with numerous individuals regardless of the area in which they reside in through email, which most importantly is FREE!

Although there are numerous advantages to using email, there are many disadvantages as well:

  • Using email for working on large organizational projects can be tedious and time consuming, as one would need to combine information between multiple individuals
  • There is a delay with emails
  • Some emails get lost or moved straight to trash
  • Email services generally restrict the size of an attachment that can be sent

In order to facilitate projects; have access to company information or personal contact lists from any location and any mobile or computer network; or to facilitate meetings instantly it is recommended that organizations utilize wikis. A wiki is a platform that enables users to exchange information, update it or edit it instantly. The benefits of utilizing wikis is that one can utilize the platform without any lag, without any real administrative effort and without the problems that emails generally have (Babauta, 2007) .

The following are some ways in which a wiki benefits an organization internally:

  • Project Management

Wikis are useful for business organizations, whereby projects require communication and input by multiple persons . It can be utilized for project management as tasks can be assigned on the platform, a timeline can be made, notes and images can be added/edited or deleted as well as various other media can be used. This is particularly convenient, as all information is stored online and is easily accessible for users, especially when individuals are unable to meet face to face regularly to work on projects or other tasks.

  • Lowers Labour and Material Costs

Wikis can be used in organizations as a means of reducing labour hours as well as the costs of printing and updating materials that need to be shared amongst employees. This is accomplished; for example, as firms can reduce costs by using wikis to store and update all information, that would otherwise, require employees to come into work for conferences. Furthermore, the cost of printing updated operation manuals and various other work updates can be reduced and be enforced immediately, by posting them directly onto a wiki site instead of spending time and money printing and distributing them.

  • Contacts

Wikis are convenient for individuals and organizations as it can be used for storing contact information of all clients, suppliers, employers etc. This is useful as the contact information can be easily accessed from any computer and smart phone anywhere around the world (on condition there is no firewall preventing it and one has access to the internet).

The following are ways a wiki benefits an organization externally:

  • Inform and Communicate

A wiki can be used to communicate with suppliers and shareholders to inform them about the organization’s operations or to request products etc. Using the wiki will enable communication between the parties, regardless of the location or time zone.

  • Update Consumers

Organizations can utilize wikis as a platform whereby they can post products, promotions and other such information, geared towards consumers. In addition, this platform can be made public and have the options for consumers to be able to contact the organization on this platform. The benefit of using this media tool, instead of or in addition to a website, is that the tool enables users to update or made changes to specific pages instantly, whereas a website would require a longer time frame.

  • Free Advertising

Organizations can post items, such as, promotions and video clips online. By posting these items on a wiki, consumers are able to share the wiki URL, specific photos, clips etc., with their friends and family on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. This strategy would enable the organization to have their information shared and distributed into new markets, thus increasing their market exposure.

Hope you found the post informative. As mentioned, wikis are a useful tool, which if used correctly can reduce an organization’s costs and improve its functioning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

Babauta, L. (n.d.). 15 Productive Uses for a Wiki — Tech News and Analysis . GigaOM . Retrieved December 1, 2012, from http://gigaom.com/2007/07/13/15-productive-uses-for-a-wiki/
Goodnoe, E. (n.d.). How To Use Wikis For Business – – – Informationweek. InformationWeek | Business Technology News, Reviews and Blogs. Retrieved December 1, 2012, from http://www.informationweek.com/how-to-use-wikis-for-business/167600331?pgno=1
Wiki – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (n.d.). Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved December 1, 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiki
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Social Media Etiquette

Social Media has revolutionized the way people do business. It has provided businesses with a low cost means of advertising, increasing its market share as well as building relationships with employees, suppliers,current and potential customers.  Among all the marketing strategies used by businesses over the years, relationship building and nurturing has been the most important…well, at least for successful businesses.

“You need to have long-term customers and good vendor relationships that will carry you through challenging times or tight deadlines, as well as relationships with other business owners to share struggles, resources and best practices that can really give you an edge. The reality is that business relationships are just like any other relationship. They require some effort to maintain and they must be mutually beneficial. As in any relationship, you must be willing to give, share and support, not just take or receive” -Michael Denisoff, founder and CEO of Denisoff Consulting Group.

Although relationship building and enhancing has been a credible strategy for years, many entrepreneurs get too caught up in the product details and sales pitch, that they tend to neglect their relationships. This has often been the case with social media marketing. What most people need to realize is that individuals use social media sites to get SOCIAL. They are not there to learn about what you have to offer or sell, they are there to post a status updates, share stories with friends, look at pictures, watch videos of dogs playing piano, or maybe play a little Farmville. So it is important that you respect that….unless your goal is to get “unfriended”, in which case you will lose part of your warm market and all the benefits associated with that.

If you are wondering how to build relationships and market your product, then treat social media sites like you are having a virtual BBQ:

When somebody comes over to your house for a summer BBQ, you welcome them in, chat, find out how they are doing and show some interest into what they are saying and just have FUN. You are not pitching your deals or asking people if they want to hear your offer… otherwise, you will just make them feel uncomfortable and they’ll find an excuse to dash.

What you should do, like at a BBQ, is just, get to know them, answer any questions, offer snacks (ie: free advice,suggestions etc.), and casually mention what it is you are doing or selling, without saying things like, “Hey Bob, you will love this toothbrush, its exactly what you need and only costs $20. How many do you want?”; instead you could say ” well, I’ve taken an interest in dental hygiene over the last couple months and at the moment am selling toothbrushes; how about you?” By providing little information and turning the conversation back to the other person you will leave room for curiosity and your friend will most likely be inclined to ask you more question about what it is you are selling and doing. So this is the basic BBQ strategy. And what is great about this strategy, is that, by having conversations you can casually include other friends into the conversation; which is KEY to Facebook marketing and increasing your market share!

According to “Using Facebook for Business- 20 Tips to Make Your Marketing Endeavors Successful“, by Edmond, Facebook serves nearly a seventh of the global population. This means, that you have the opportunity to expand your business to people you don’t even know, locally and internationally. However, over the years businesses have been impacted  as Facebook restricted the posts one receives on their news feed. Have you ever noticed that some friends don’t seem to be active on Facebook? If you have, chances are your friends are active but you are just not receiving the notifications, due to Facebook restricting the number of notifications you receive. How this works is, Facebook tends to publish updates by friends you have recently interacted with or individuals who tend to be highly influential (based on popularity of their photos, status updates etc.) . This has posed a problem for many entrepreneurs and businesses as it restricts their information reaching large audiences.

In order to  overcome the setback, what an individual or company can do, is increase their own popularity by encouraging friends to comment or like their posts (again, by using the BBQ strategy).  The following are a few methods that can be used:

  • Have fun conversations with friends. This can be done on your own wall or the walls of your friends. If you are commenting on YOUR own wall posts, then casually ” tag” other friends and invite them into the conversation. This will not only increase the popularity of your posts (and of yourself), but it will also encourage your friends to learn a bit about your products etc. When commenting and having the “BBQ” conversation with friends on THEIR wall, you are now reaching out to their friendship circles; thus increasing your market share as individuals you may not have known are now able to read your posts and learn a bit about your products.
  • When posting status updates, videos or pictures, tag your friends. By tagging them, your friends and their friends get notified and can contribute to a discussion. This will increase your popularity, as well as build a relationship.
  • A status update or anything posted should never be a sales pitch. Instead post fun facts,information or links for free merchandise and deals that will benefit the reader. After all, people do enjoy getting things for free.
  • Finally, create fan pages, update Facebook daily, link  Facebook to your Twitter or Instagram sites etc. By doing any of these mentioned things, you will be increasing your online social media presence which will allows you to have a higher popularity ranking, allowing your posts to be viewed by a larger audience, increasing your credibility and potential market share.

I hope you all enjoyed reading this post. If you have any tips to build online relationships please post them below.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Dahl, D. (n.d.). How to Build Better Business Relationships | Inc.com. Small Business Ideas and Resources for Entrepreneurs. Retrieved November 21, 2012, from http://www.inc.com/guides/201101/how-to-build-better-business-relationships.html

Using Facebook for Business – 20 Top Marketing Tips You Must Know . (n.d.). Buy Facebook Fans – Secret to Instant Social Credibility Online . Retrieved November 21, 2012, from http://www.fansbuy.org/using-facebook-for-business/

default. (n.d.). Some of your friends’ updates are missing in your Facebook? | Calvin’s Hub. Calvin’s Hub. Retrieved November 21, 2012, from http://www.calvinshub.com/2011/02/how-to-show-all-your-friends-updates-in-facebook/

No Such Thing as PRIVACY

How often have you posted photos, videos, your company’s information or work online? How often do you save private information into your Drop Box or on social media sites? I’ve often used these methods as they enable me to share information with specific people, or save my own information on a media source that makes it easy for me to access it from any location and any computer. However, I was stunned, during an ENTR 3211 Hot Topic discussion. It was brought to the classes attention that all information uploaded are actually no longer private and are legally allowed to be used by other businesses, the social media host, the government etc. So should we use Google or other online sites?

Pros:

  • Information uploaded is protected by the Privacy Act which limits the collection, use and publication of personal information.
  • PIPEDA (Protected by the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act) protects individuals, to a certain extent, as it sets rules for methods in which private sector corporations use an individuals personal information for commercial activities.
  • Businesses and online hosts have found methods enabling individuals the option of protecting their actions from being tracked. For example, on browsers such as Mozilla Firefox, individuals can clear their browser history or remove cookies, thus, limiting corporations from following them or gaining access to their personal account information.
  • Unless the user gives consent, Google does not share an individuals information

Cons:

  • Without publicly stating this fact, some sites such as Google, have a hidden clause that permits them to collect personal information , package them and sell them to corporations and high bidders.
  • Since many legal documents are long, wordy and in fine print, many users do not read the document, thus, they often find themselves accepting the terms and conditions without realizing they have just handed their privacy over.
  • According to Bill C-30, the Government of Canada is able to access anyone’s online information without consent.

In My Opinion….

I have never trusted online sites for maintaining private information. My initial view, I’ll admit was a little naive; I didn’t trust the sites, primarily because privacy clauses were so small and hard to find on web pages. However, based on our class discussion, which included the facts that privacy protection acts are emphasized, while the loopholes are discrete, and that our personal information is used by marketers who then track our actions through cookies and spam us with information or use our private information for their own marketing strategies, I have a better reason not to trust online sites with private information. However, what do we do when our friends and family posts private information about us online? Well, according to the DMCA (Digital Media Copyright Act), to have information removed, one would need to write a letter to the website provider’s DCMA Agent ( Lawfirms, n.d.)  Click here for more information . So online sites are convenient, but if one desires to use it, they need to take time to read the terms and conditions. I further suggest that the government takes a more active role in requiring online sites maintain an individual’s privacy, while permitting them to use the site. The individual should have the option as to whether they would further like to make their information public.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Internet Freak-out Over Google’s New Privacy Policy Proves Again That No One Actually Reads Privacy Policies – Forbes. (n.d.). Information for the World’s Business Leaders – Forbes.com. Retrieved November 20, 2012, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2012/01/25/internet-freak-out-over-googles-new-privacy-policy-proves-no-one-actually-reads-privacy-policies/

Laws Protecting your Private Information Online | Lawfirms.com. (n.d.). Find a Lawyer. Learn the Law. Get Legal Advice.. Retrieved November 20, 2012, from http://www.lawfirms.com/resources/technology-law/internet-law/protecting-your-privacy-online.htm

Piracy: Free Advertising or an Illegal Act

When thinking of piracy, most people recall the tales of Captain Hook or Captain Jack Sparrow; who stole treasures and tortured many. Their actions harmed the masses yet they and their rivals became well renowned.  The tales of a pirate’s actions is very similar to present day piracy.Piracy is a theft, that refers to the act of duplicating copies of a copyright protected item. Items copyrighted can be in the form of movies, videos, games, software etc. Therefore, piracy comes at the expense of artists, however, some may argue that in fact it benefits artists, as their popularity increases with their materials now reaching a larger audience. So is piracy good or bad?

Based on our class discussion, the following are benefits associated with piracy:

  • “What you don’t know, you don’t miss” Present day social media has enabled music and other materials to be shared instantaneously across the world. This poses as a benefit to many artists, especially those who are new in the industry, as their materials can be shared across the globe, thus, increasing their brand image and popularity; which in turn will increase a demand for their materials. However, the likelihood of individuals wanting to purchase material from an unknown artist is slim, compared to those who have sampled the material and grown accustomed to it. Thus, by breaking copyright laws, and engaging in piracy, individuals are able to sample relatively unknown material and by sharing it with friends, they end up making the artist more material (Techdirt, n.d.). This is what has been happening in the entertainment industry. With sites such as YouTube and Facebook enabling individuals to share copyrighted materials, artists have become relatively popular. Some of which ended up becoming famous and getting a record deals (Ex. David Choi), while others became popular to the point where their concerts are now being sold out across the globe.
  • “Steal from the rich and give to the poor” Some argue that piracy provides those without a disposable income, access to information that could enable them to make more money in the long run. As a result of them growing accustomed to this material, their trust in the producer and material would encourage them to purchase the material later on, as apposed to them purchasing material from other producers.

Negative aspects of copyright infringement:

  • Stealing! Copyright infringement is an act of stealing revenue from artists,producers etc., who have worked hard for that money. These individuals have utilized their creativity and skills in producing materials, that through copyright infringement, results in them incurring costs for a revenue that they will not be receiving. As stated in a hot topic discussion in ENTR 3211, over 80% of Canadians engage in piracy. This is a huge percentage of people who are obtaining free material, from individuals who relied on the materials to generate them an income.
  • Job loss  When music is copied and shared online, who will purchase a CD?
    When books are printed and given to friends, who will purchase the book?
    When there is no need for certain things, individuals who would have previously made their income doing that, will no longer have a job. If this were to continue, this could negatively impact the economy as a whole.

In My Opinion….

Piracy is a crime. I do not believe that we should be obtaining information for free and at the expense of others. I know I am guilty of engaging in this act, however, I do feel that if more was done to prevent copyright infringement from being so convenient, less people would engage in it. If artists, producers etc, are unable to earn an income from their work, will they not be less inclined to continue providing us with these materials? I mean, over the years I have realized that many movies for example are just remakes of old ones, so I often wonder if this is because, there is less of an incentive to create something new. I do however feel that if an artist publishes free material online, that material can be shared and make an artists popular; thus, the excuse that piracy makes artists more popular is one I do not fully agree with. So in conclusion, I do agree with piracy!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Three Artists On Piracy: Sharing, Disruption And Turning Filesharers Into Your Street Team | Techdirt. (n.d.). Techdirt.. Retrieved November 20, 2012, from http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120906/18581520306/three-artists-piracy-sharing-disruption-turning-filesharers-into-your-street-team.shtml

Change is Inevitable but Survival is Optional!

The world and everything in it, is constantly changing; and in the words of Charles Darwin “It is not the strongest that survive, or the most intelligent, but the most responsive to change”. This not only applies to individuals, animals or nature but to organizations as well. Consider this, is communication via email a norm at your workplace? Well, before 1971, nobody knew of email. In fact, had organizations not embraced this new technological advancement, communication  both internally and externally of an organization would take a lot longer and productivity could be lower than it currently is.

Now the question many ask is ” how do you know when change is necessary?”  Well, most organizations realize that among the many, there are actually seven factors that require the implementation of some form of organizational change. Factors that indicate the need for organizational change are: a) the development of new products, b) the entry of new competition, c) changes in consumer taste and preferences, d) changes in socio-political, economic and cultural frameworks, e) advancement in technology, f) new emerging markets, and g) drastic environmental changes. Sounds simple, right? A change in any of the mentioned factors should indicate that organizational change be implemented, and -voilà, the organization will be successful and flourishing.  Not quite! If you’ve seen the movie “Up in the Air”, starring George Clooney, you’d know what I mean. In the movie the organization, that George’s character worked for intended to adopt a new method for carrying out the task of dismissing employees. George’s character did not accept this change well, as he prided himself with his job and its procedure, therefore, hindering the implementation of this change. Although the need for change and adaptation may be visible, it is often difficult to implement; and if handled incorrectly, it may have a negative effect on the organization.

The risks involved when implementing organizational change, include but are not limited to:

  • Employee stress- as by nature most people have a hard time dealing with change
  • Misinterpretation of market and consumer preferences, which could result in profit loss
  • Failure to understand what did and did not work in the organization, could result in the wrong form of change being implemented
  • Increased costs that don’t necessarily lead to increased profit

Therefore, when deciding to implement change, it is critical to a) understand previous change initiatives, b) involve top leadership, c) identify people who may be potential stumbling blocks or champions, d) map out the change process, e) construct an effective communication system and f) provide adequate support and development for line managers to lead employees through the change (Right Management, n.d.). So you may be wondering, “if implementing change is so complicated, and has risks involved,why should successful organizations have to change?”

Well, with today’s technological advancement, companies seem to be rising and falling sporadically. So to give you an idea of the consequences that arise due to avoiding change, we will look at a couple originally successful companies, and where they are today.

Blockbuster: Blockbuster was among the few video rental chain stores that survived the transition between VHS and DVD. At it’s peak it had about 60,000 employees and over 900 stores nationwide. They were a relatively successful company. However, when companies such as Netflix offered video entertainment direct to homes, Blockbuster failed to implement change. Instead of adapting to new technology, they maintained their current position and were made insignificant as the rise to direct to home, online streaming and other movie options were made available.  I’m sure you all know what became of blockbuster: In 2010, they filed for bankruptcy and all stores were thereafter closed.

Motorola: With the introduction of car radios, two-way radios, and the world’s first mobile phone; Motorola dominated the tech industry. Their success continued into 2003, when they introduced the Razr, which became the biggest selling mobile phone ever at that time. However, they failed to focus on smartphones which included emails, apps etc. Therefore, resulting in them becoming obsolete and losing their market share to newcomers such as Research in Motion, Apple, LG and Samsung.

For a list of more companies (Click here).

Now we know the importance of organizational changes, so what steps should be taken to implement it successfully?

  1. Align leadership style with organizational culture– In order to reduce stress, employees create patters of behaviour. Therefore, it is the leaders responsibility to reduce undue stress on the culture that would be caused by the implementation of any organizational change.
  2. Don’t overuse your change missionariesChange missionaries are individuals who always step up and make additional efforts to lead the organization to success. Often times, when implementing change, leaders become dependent on these individuals which could lead to too much pressure being exerted on them, causing them to burn out or feel under compensated. Ultimately this could lead individuals to become ineffective in managing their current operations and the change initiatives.
  3. Protect your change agentsChange agents are individuals who initiate and promote change. Often times they move up the hierarchy quickly, as their behaviour and values are aligned with that of the organization. Therefore, when implementing change, these individuals are assets to firms, and often overused. Moreover, they tend to fall victim to peers during the implementation of change. Therefore, much like change missionaries, change agents need to be protected and used under discretion.
  4. Define the problem– It is important to analyze the problem and do a clear evaluation of what needs to be changed.
  5. Maintain focus when the project drifts-It is important for leaders to recognize early drifts as it enables them to focus on key indicators that led them to desire change. Failure to focus could result in unnecessary changes being made, while the crucial ones are not well dealt with.
  6. Identify and remove barriers before implementing action plans– Removal of barriers that hinder effective change implementation needs to be made, before successful change can occur.

For more information click here.

Below is a video I thought you may all like. It may surprise you to see how this successful organization started out.

” For change to work, the discontent with the present must be greater than the tolerance of it, and that’s quite rare”  Robert Rowland Smith, philosopher.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Marsee, J. (n.d.). 10 Steps for Implementing Change. Implementing Change . Retrieved July 23, 2012, from http://www.virginia.edu/processsimplification/resources/Implementing%20Change.pdfNewman, R. (n.d.). 10 Great

Companies That Lost Their Edge – Rick Newman (usnews.com). Business News and Financial News – US News Business. Retrieved July 24, 2012, from http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/flowchart/2010/08/19/10-great-companies-that-lost-their-edge

Saulnier, D. S. (n.d.). Organizational Effectiveness: Preparing your workfore for change. right.com. Retrieved July 23, 2012, from http://www.right.com/capabilities/organizational-effectiveness/preparing-your-workforce-for-change-a-strategy-for-success.pdf

A Balanced Organizational Structure

The Success of an organization is largely determined by the strategic and operational decisions made. It can either build or cause an organization to collapse .  So who has the power to make these decisions? How is the power distributed?

There are two types of organizational business structures: Centralized and Decentralized. Each of which are contrary methods for transferring decision making power. However, like author Thomas Malone says

…the cheap cost of communication—e-mail, instant messaging, the Internet—is making possible a new type of organizational structure” (2004).

As I mentioned in my previous post Eureka! Unlocking Creative Potential; the evolution of communication, technology and the necessity of creativity for organizational success, requires that the organizational structure implemented maximizes creativity in the organization. So would a centralized structure be more effective or a decentralized structure? Or, should they be implemented to form a new and improved method?

Well, lets first look at the components that define a centralized and decentralized organizational structure:

When I think of a centralized organization, what comes to mind is a pyramid structure. Businesses that operate under such a structure, keep decision making at the top of the hierarchy, or senior position. This is commonly used for chain stores or in fast-food franchises; as it ensures quality control and customer experience is consistent through the many outlets.

Advantages:

  • Easier to implement common policies and practices throughout the organization.
  • Prevents other parts of the organization from becoming too independent.
  • For budget control etc., it is easier to control at the central position.
  • Quick and efficient decision making, as leaders are in full control and limited discussion is encouraged.
  • Great use of job specialization.

Disadvantages:

  • Lack of authority down the hierarchy may reduce manager motivation.
  • Limits the creativity in the organization as managers and other organizational leaders are responsible for the decisions made etc.
  • Organizations could suffer from several layers of  bureaucracy, as decisions at each level may take longer to be made, resulting in a sluggish operation of the business.

Often times, a decentralized organization has several individuals responsible for business making decisions; and at different levels they rely on a team structure. According to an article by the  Harvard Business School, faculty members researched the effectiveness of decentralized organizational structures, and like Thomas Malone, they concluded that it is amongst the most effective methods for present day organizations is this knowledge economy:

“…as more work in our economy becomes knowledge work, and as innovation becomes increasingly critical to business success in many industries, the benefits of decentralization are likely to become important in more and more places. In fact, in principle, almost any business activity could benefit from having highly motivated, creative people performing it” (Malone, 2004).

Advantages:

  • As it permits many individuals to work on the same problem, it encourages motivation and creativity.
  • A broad-based management team helps to ensure the company has knowledgeable directors or managers to handle various types of business situations.
  • Easier to train and develop junior management, as communication between individuals is more open and encouraged.

Disadvantages:

  • Decentralized organizations can struggle with multiple individuals having different opinions on a particular business decision, which could slow down the decision making process
  • More difficult to ensure consistent practices and policies
  • Harder to achieve tighter financial control

Now that you have an idea of what constitutes a traditional centralized and decentralized organization, we can identify what structure is most effective. According to the journal “Temporarily Divide to Conquer: Centralized, Decentralized, and Reintegrated Organizational Approaches to Exploration and Adaptation” , by Daniel A. Levinthal and Nicolaj Siggelkow, while having either a pure centralized or decentralized structure, is most common, it can restrict the growth of the organization due to the disadvantages associated with each. Therefore, they propose and justified a third structure: Temporary Decentralized followed by reintegration.

In many articles that I read, individuals proposed that organizations shift between centralized and decentralized structures according to perceived dramatic economic changes. However, in this study Levinthal and Siggelkow suggest that by doing that, the organizational structure is decomposable and by keeping it that way, in the long run an unstable and low performance organization would result (conflict due to changes in positions of authority etc. ).  So we need solid structure!

Thus, it is suggested that in the initial phase teams implement a decentralized structure, fostering creativity, motivation etc. And thereafter, based on the sub-teams that were formed earlier, a more centralized structure should be enforced. This is the foundation of a temporary decentralized structure followed by reintegration (click here to read more). In my opinion, this structure makes sense, as it encourages creativity which is vital to the success of organizations in this constantly developing era, while further enforcing leadership structure and overall consistency in organizations.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Malone, T. W. (n.d.). Making the Decision to Decentralize – HBS Working Knowledge. HBS Working Knowledge – Faculty Research at Harvard Business School. Retrieved July 10, 2012, from http://hbswk.hbs.edu/archive/4020.html
Media, D. (n.d.). Centralized Vs. Decentralized Organizational Structure | Small Business – Chron.com. Small Business – Chron.com. Retrieved July 10, 2012, from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/centralized-vs-decentralized-organizational-structure-2785.html
Siggelkow, N., & Levinthal, D. A. (2003). Temporarily Divide to Conquer: Centralized, Decentralized, and Reintegrated Organizational Approaches to Exploration and Adaptation. Organizational Science, 14(6), 2-16. Retrieved July 9, 2012, from https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:9LtikSlaShAJ:www.management.wharton.upenn.edu/siggelkow/pdfs/FinalTempOS.pdf+can+centralized+and+decentralized+organizational+strucutures+be+used+together?&hl=en&gl=ca&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESg9SxBHlcPForEOrJUA0av

Eureka! Unlocking Creative Potential

Be honest. When do you get most of your brilliant ideas? Is it when you are sitting behind your desk with a deadline? Or doing something unrelated like, driving, going on Facebook- or like our friend here- whilst taking a bath? Is it even essential to get these creative ideas?

Present day we are living in a world where things are constantly changing. Think about this, in 1994 Honey I shrunk the Audience, was a 3D movie that could only be seen at Disney theme parks. Now, we have the ability to watch 3D movies at home.I don’t know about you, but when I was in elementary school teachers took attendance and we were required to raise our hands to answer a question (obviously only one person could answer at a time). But in 2005, the iClicker was invented, allowing teachers to quickly poll students and have the entire class answer questions simultaneously (it made classes a lot more fun too) (Dunn, 2011). Now the job market, well in 2010 the top 10 in demand jobs did not even exist in 2004. Bottom line, the world is changing. But what does it have to do with  us?

To give you a brief idea,  Canada has a growing population of Chinese and South Asian immigrants. According to The Globe and Mail, Toronto alone is expecting this population to triple by 2031 (Gee, 2011).  So as expressed in the video “Did You Know?”  if you are one in a million, in China there are 1300 people just like you. Moreover, 25% of India’s population with the highest IQ is greater than the total population of the United States. This means, without our creative ideas, WE ARE REPLACEABLE!!!  Those who want to be ahead of the curve, have to be visionary, as those businesses and individuals who are lost in  their tunnel vision are only going to be left behind. Just as it is essential to be a creative individual to get those well paid jobs, in the words of former IBM chief executive, Thomas J. Watson, “… the real difference between success and failure in a corporation can be very often traced to the question of how well the organization brings out the great energies and talents of its people” ( n.d., 2012). Encouraging creativity at work  is good for attracting and retaining good quality employees as well as ensuring that those creative ideas stay under your roof instead of being taken to other organizations.

The company Google, understands the importance of creative thinking, but like Steven Johnson, they believe it is a collaborative effort; meaning that we need to collaborate our ideas with others in order to create and invent something greater (Click here for Steven Johnson’s video).  In “The Eight Pillars of Innovation”, Susan Wojcicki discusses some of Google’s methods for creativity and innovation, while explaining that with a fast evolving market, Google, recruits people who are creative and believe that the impossible can become possible. Susan further explains that Google, looks for innovative ideas through all mediums:

” Several years ago, we took this quite literally and posted an ideas board on a wall at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View. On a Friday night, an engineer went to the board and wrote down the details of a convoluted problem we had with our ads system. A group of Googlers lacking exciting plans for the evening began re-writing the algorithm within hours and had solved the problem by Tuesday.”

 Google, understands that most people are at their creative peak when they work on tasks unrelated to that assigned. Therefore, in order to fuel their employee’s creative potential, they implemented the “20 Percent Time program”, which permits employees to utilize up to 20% of their work week (~1 day for per week’s work) to pursue projects unrelated to those assigned. Google claims, that many of their products in Google Labs began as ideas during the “20 Percent Time” period (Strickland, 2011).

Today, many organizations turn to workplace innovation programs with the belief that creativity is one of the keys to competitive survival. In the article, “Training and Development in Australia: Finding Your Creative Potential”, an interesting method of fostering creativity is to have musical workshops. The aim of singing together as a team is to be able to find one’s own voice, as well as to understand and interpret that of other teammates- as voice is vital for presenting, influencing others and being heard (de Jong , 1). Upon taking a musical workshop in Melbourne, a member of the Focus Group explained  his experience: ” we were challenged and inspired to think beyond the usual bounds of leadership style by taking a journey of breath, chant and song. It affirmed for many that if allowed, creativity can and will ‘create’ great leaders.” Music programs are believed to benefit organizations as a whole through their employees. The article further states that musical expression heightens well-being, emotional expression and self-awareness. And therefore, once an employee has found their self-expression, they would be confident and capable of going beyond their previous limitations.

As one can see, with the rapid change our world is experiencing, it is important for both individual’s and organization’s creative potential tobe recognized and utilized. My question for you is, What are some ways you foster your creativity? Or how and when do you find yourself most creative and open to new ideas?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

Sources:

Gee, M. (n.d.). South Asian immigrants are transforming Toronto – The Globe and Mail. Home – The Globe and Mail. Retrieved June 24, 2012, from http://m.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/marcus-gee/south-asian-immigrants-are-transforming-toronto/article2085267/?service=mobile
Google. (n.d.). The Eight Pillars of Innovation | Think Quarterly by Google. Think with Google – Your resource for industry trends & insights. Retrieved June 24, 2012, from http://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/quarterly/innovation/8-pillars-of-innovation.html
Harnessing the Creative Potential of the Workforce – Talent Management magazine. (n.d.). Talent Management magazine. Retrieved June 24, 2012, from http://talentmgt.com/articles/view/_harnessing_the_creative_potential_of_the_workforce_/3
de Jong, T. (2010). Training & Development In Australia. Finding Your Creative Potential Journal, 1-2.
Strickland, J. (n.d.). HowStuffWorks “Google Employee Perks”. HowStuffWorks “Computer”. Retrieved June 24, 2012, from http://computer.howstuffworks.com/googleplex3.htm