Saturday, 24 July 2010

Motivation, Innovation, TRIZ & Bio-Cybernetics

I'd like to recommend two videos concerning motivation - the first one takes approx. 20mins, the second one 10mins. I'm going to add some TRIZ plus Bio-Cybernetics thinking afterwards - please feel free to comment on my train of thought :)

Okay, TED Talk first (German subtitles available):

And here - way faster, shorter & with nice drawings - the YouTube version:

Let's see - what does Dan Pink tell & show us here? He states, referring to scientific cognitions, that monetary rewards work perfectly for manual tasks. However, when it's about creative and cognitive tasks, monetary rewards don't foster, but even counteract working performance.

Kinda interesting isn't it? Now let's think about creative problems solving. I'd say that's a cognitive task. What does it mean in terms of innovation, when money does not foster creative problems solving?

As stated, it is necessary to fulfil the belowest parts of Maslow's Pyramid (aka securing comfortable living conditions). That done, giving people the opportunity to act self-determined is the key. Therefore two things seem most important - the ability to trust and to let self-organization happen.

Woah, easier said than done! Think about what we've got right now - rules & parameters for even the tiniest things, we love to control, measure and thrive on facts & figures.

Applying TRIZ
Thinking in terms of TRIZ (Theory of Inventive Problems Solving) that's quite a nice contradiction we've got here. So let's see what is recommended to solve this contradiction without trade-offs - using the online TRIZ Matrix

I'd say the technical parameter 21, Power, is improving, and technical parameter 37, Difficulty of Detection, gets worse. Which leaves us with three principles: 19, Periodic Action, 35, Parameter Changes and 16, Partial or Excessive Actions.

Well, well, well. I'd say the mentioned example - letting employees busy themselves for 12 hours with whatever they want to do - is a periodic action. There are periods of freedom as well as of guidelines. It might be also seen as an example for principle 16 - excessive freedom within a certain time span.

When it comes to principle 35, I observe the following ... a parameter change often means a jump from one s-curve to another one. IMHO it is intimately connected with TRIZ Trends, which act like a technological crystal ball - where am I right now and what will come next, thinking of surface geometry, degrees of freedom, etc.

Additionally, when talking about the ability to jump, we are talking about the ability to use certain resources (financial and/or know-how). That's true for technology, but also for processes and the given state of mind.

So ... what I'd say is that we need to change the parameters aka values we depend upon :)

It's a jump from making money to make meaning (referring to Guy Kawasaki and his "The Art of the Start" here). For Spiral Dynamics® fans - it's fostering the awakening of a new vMEME® or even more so, the jump from the first onto the second tier.

Changing Values
People thrive on becoming better at what they like to do - and I'd say that's true for grown-ups as well as for kids. I'm focusing on companies here, but let me tell you - this is food for thought for our educational system, too. I won't go into that right now, but I sincerely believe it to be true. We have to trust in the willingness to learn, not destroy it by standardizing, norming and grading.

As an innovative company, you're going need people who love to create new solutions and are not afraid of change. As the fear of change is intimately connected with Maslow, you have to pay them enough to make their living. Give them something to chew & perform, as well as the freedom to do it completely their way, at least from time to time (periodic action).   

Jumping onto another level - from employees to companies - companies in permanent fear of bankruptcy won't innovate. Not really. In a state of permanent danger it's a matter of self-defense, not of added value.

Oh yes, there is a thing like being forced to act due to psychological strain. But, let's face it, the solutions are  merely quick & dirty. In case of distress, our brain uses existing patterns in order to react fast (which is a good thing to do). However, existing patterns are common, not novel or exceptional.

So - where does this danger come from?

I'd say it's this damned policy of growth. More turnover, more employees, more products, more services ...  and my, how often are we entrepreneurs told to grow. By public authorities, politicians, you name it. It's so hip to do ... and we are told that we won't survive any other way. 

People who know me personally do also know - that's when my biomimetical mind begins to suffer. I'm a big admirer of Frederic Vester. He formulated eight biocybernetic principles, one of them being: "System function has to be independent from quantitative growth". And I second that with all my heart, knowledge and life experience.

Thank God some did recognize this perma-growth as a vicious circle. Trends like sustainability, adaptive stability and de-growth are there and getting stronger.

Rounding it up
Let's focus on the term "adaptive stability" - I'd say that's a good road to follow, especially when it comes to the motivation to innovate. It means stability AND flexibility (which is again a nice contradiction - you might want to try that one on your own).

Stability ensures that the basic needs are granted (thinking of Maslow), and flexibility allows to change and adapt, using innovation to do so. The ability to change has to be there, as we are affected by ever-changing (economical, political, personal, ...) life conditions.

Yes, an endless scalability of "adaptive stability" might not be there, but as we eliminate perma-growth, it doesn't have to. And as we don't have to grow all the time, pressure's off.

There's room for creativity which adds value because it wants to. Self-organized :)
I kinda like that!

No comments:

Post a Comment