ideas & insights

 

Innovation and Creativity Competences – Stop and Smell the Hills

 

The Fringe has started up here in Edinburgh and the city is overflowing with the wildest, maddest, funniest expressions of creativity. And yet the most inspiring couple of days I’ve had in years were last weekend with my stepbrother on the west coast of Scotland. Mike is spending two months on a residency project on Rosneath peninsula. His studio overlooks the water, the forests and the hills Scotland is famous for. Mike’s an artist, a very talented one. Yet he’s not on the residency specifically to produce anything physical. He’s there to think. And note that I’m not saying “just to think” or “simply to think”.

Like most of us, Mike typically finds very little time to think – he’s part of the London art scene …

Organisational Cultures in Multinationals – Same Same?

 

When we look at organisational cultures, we usually identify the influences as coming from the surrounding environment, the size and maturity of the organisation, the ownership, the organisation’s approach to technology, and the sector and markets it operates in. And, typically, an organisation’s culture is set initially by its leaders, perpetuated by these leaders’ followers and then modified by new leaders and new organisation members. There are lots of different metaphors and models for these cultures, but by and large, so far so uncontroversial. But what happens when the organisation expands overseas into new territories, opening up branches and subsidiaries? Should HQ work to ensure that its home culture permeates every office of its operations around the world or should it let each of its local entities have …

Building a Global Team’s Identity – From WIIFM To WIIFU

 

The traditional metaphor likens American business teams to baseball teams and Japanese ones to tug of war sides. In the former, individuals can still shine or disappoint however well the team does. In the latter, it’s hard to discern individual input – the team succeeds or fails as a whole. So far so good, but times have moved on. What happens when your team is a kaleidoscope of different cultures and identities, as it almost certainly will be these days? How do we build a group identity and consciousness so it’s not WIIFM but What’s In It For Us?

The importance of this is self-evident. We all know the advantages of global and virtual teams – from local knowledge and understanding giving better and faster …

Shall We Dance or You Wanna Race?

 

What does time look like to you? Does it stretch straight ahead into the distance, measurable yet infinite? Or does it loop and circle around like a bee? Is time money and the schedule king? Or are relationships more important and time rubbery like a Dalí clock?

Of all the cultural dimensions the element of time is the one that often provokes the most immediate frustration. German managers wait in empty meeting rooms for their Mexican colleagues to arrive. UK sales executives wonder why their Arab clients aren’t attentively listening to their pitches but are taking phonecalls, signing documents, and texting on their BlackBerries. Japanese negotiators sigh into their Sapporos as their American counterparts yet again return to the business topic…

Lewis would call you a linear active if you …

Personality Profiling – Creating Stereotypes?

 

Did you know that our concept of the word stereotype only really dates from 1922? The American writer Walter Lippmann – no slouch on the word front as he would later coin ‘cold war’ – borrowed the term from the world of printing, where it is a metal cast used to make repeated, identical images of a character. For Lippmann, a stereotype was a picture in our heads, a uniform (and distorted) image to simplify our view of the world that can be used in reaching common agreement on events. Nowadays, at least in the world of psychology, the term has lost its connotations of irrationality and prejudice to be considered a stable set of beliefs which the members of a group share about the characteristics of other …