What makes you “tick”?

In the last post I wrote about ideas and how to make them happen. But now I am wondering what makes you and other people tick in different organization? What are environmental factors that allows people to encounter to challenges what they want to solve? And what kind of organizational functions we need to create that kind of environment?

 

Passion

Passion is something that makes people tick. Somebody may be passionate for running, somebody is passionate for photographing and somebody may be even passionate for working. When people are passionate for something they talk all the time about it, they think about it and what to do next. You know when have you got excited about something and it is almost impossible to stay hold. You talk about it, sketch plans to paper, seek reviews and information about it from Google. What if you have same kind of passion towards daily work?

 

The new way of management

The challenge come in organizations where the traditional management methods take place. You wait for someone (usually your superior) to tell what to do next. You cant influence the content of the task or project and you do it just because it is your job. What if this is changed up-side-down and people could have opportunity to choose the tasks and project they want to do? I know that this is not the easiest thing to change because it may also affect to business models too.

Let’s think about positive sides of the model and imagine that we have different projects available. We have the environment where people have access to information of the available projects. Developers who are interested in project, apply for developing it. It might be possible that everyone are willing to solve same problem and rest of the project don’t get resources. The positive side is that the most interesting project may be also the most beneficial project for both parties (project lead and developers). Developers are happy when they can solve problems they want and motivation is on high level. This leads to better results in the project and project stakeholders are happy too.

Then the other side is when some project does not interest nobody. I would say that kind of project could be rejected before start and again both parties are happier. I would not be happy project manager for the project where developers don’t have enthusiasm towards project.

 

The Change

This kind of change needs paradigm shift in all levels in organization and also huge efforts from information systems. I profess that the more creative and intelligent people are working in organizations the more interesting challenges must be easy to find and access. Working environment must support happy encounters of challenges and solvers!

Building the Innovation Culture

It is over six months since I last time updated my blog. I must admit that it did not feel so long time, maybe it is because I have found myself wrestling with interesting challenges. Those challenges are related to innovation activities and how to inspire people to share their ideas. One part of those activities was defining the “innovation process” and the “innovation network”. Since I am encouraging people to share their ideas, insights and opinions I will also share my thoughts by this blog, so let us begin.

It is all about change, slow change

Changing people attitudes will not happen in a day or two. I have met a lot of people who are distant towards innovation activities, even cynical and some people think that they are not capable for innovation. The latter part is totally crap, everyone is capable for creative thinking but the first thing is about people attitudes. People’s attitudes change slowly and change must be managed from the top: important things like the importance of innovation must be frequently on the frame and people will not forget it.

Innovation Must be Shared Value

The next step from emphasizing the importance of innovation is transforming the innovation to one of the most important values in organization. If values are used efficiently in every day management values are really shared by the people in organization. When the innovation is one of the values it will direct people to common goal: more innovative organization. I have a dream that I do not need to answer anymore to questions like: “Why should I share my idea?” or “Why should we contribute to this process?”.

Access to the Latest Information

As I mentioned earlier, everyone is creative, they just need right inspiration. There are different ways to inspire people and something that works for me does not work for everyone. One thing what have I learned is that access to latest information, hardware and understanding the trends will help in creative thinking. When people have access to those things it will amplify the creativity and people can build on other’s ideas. There is always room for improvements and there is no need for creating entirely novel ideas all the time!

Benevolent Anarchism

The last thing I like to share in this post is something I call “benevolent anarchism”. I bet that every second lots of energy is wasted in bureaucracy and needless processes. This also prevent innovation when some good idea jams in to bureaucracy. But what if we act like benevolent anarchist and do the thing more efficiently without following the process? If things just happen faster and more efficiently I think that is proof that there is no need for that process or bureaucracy. Ok, I admit that needs courage but sometimes it easier to apologize afterwards than ask permission beforehand.

These items that I found important and interesting needs a lot of out-of-the-box thinking. Innovation and efficiency will be on the frame a long time: Without innovation, courage, new ideas and efficient execution of ideas nothing will change and there will not be any “new business” opportunities.

Yep, I am done. Thank you for reading this post!

Innovator Groups

Few weeks have gone very fast and now I am back from the basement chamber. I have been reading lots of books (in my chamber) about innovation and how to make innovation work. In addition to that I had fun time on my vacation with my family at Ruka and after that I spent week skimming the pile of e-mails. That was shortly what has happened during last few weeks, so let’s get started!

Earlier my noble idea was that everyone should innovate but after reading thoughts of respected authors I must admit that it won’t work. Everyone should have opportunity to innovate but the fact is that there are only small amount of people in organizations or in community who are interested in innovation. Usually they are people who always see gaps or improvement ideas in existing products, services, processes etc. Those people who have fresh ideas must be supported and also connect with other people in other parts of organization or community.

We have ideas.symbian.org that has over 1000 ideas submitted by the “innovators” in the community. I was wondering how those innovators could be supported and connected? How their energy could harness to create more focused innovations? I think that if we put more focus on ideas that fits in to Symbian Foundation’s strategy then we could have more competitive platform (in a long term) on the market.

Everyone who has involved somehow to innovation knows that 99% of innovation is perspiration and 1% inspiration. Perspiration means work and without work there are no innovations nor innovative environment. I was wondering if it could be possible to create some innovator groups that have different focus areas. For example, some group is interested innovating around multimedia domain and another around internet domain. Groups have frequent sessions for example once in three months and they brainstorm and generate new ideas to certain area. The result of the session could be for example new features to the package or some solution to the existing problem.

Then the tricky part is organizing this kind of groups and activities. The most active innovators can be found from leaderboard of the ideas.symbian.org, but they can live in different places even different continents. Usually brainstorming is done by the group in same place, face to face. I am not sure how this kind of brainstorming could be done by online tools. Maybe someone has some ideas or experience in using them? I think that this kind of activity could help in creating environment that permits innovation, but it needs perspiration. Thanks for reading!

Ideas from Symbian Ideas

 

In the previous post I was writing about openness, collaboration and sharing. I also mentioned ideas.symbian.org, the place where community members can exchange ideas. I looked closer what is going on at ideas.symbian.org and what kind of ideas are there and how they may support in creation of “nimble environment that permits innovation”.

Ideas that Support Collaboration

Sophie Yim has posted idea about Starting and running a Symbian development IRC-channel. The real-time communication with community members would help community members to share ideas, ask questions regarding to software development challenges and not to forget other topics that are related to Symbian Foundation.

Emre Can has posted idea about “crowdsourcing” and how community could give valuable feedback. I think that “crowdsourcing” is good example of collaboration and this idea can be refined forward. We can take wider look to “crowdsourcing” and how Symbian Foundation members can utilize it.

For example some member company has a challenge and they publish challenge to community. Some community members start solving the challenge and after they have solution they submit solution to company who requested help. Company rewards winning solution and they can profit from it. In theory this should be win-win situation where company and solution provider profit.

Ideas that support Openness and Sharing

Ideas.symbian.org itself is good example of openness and sharing. Community members are openly sharing their ideas and hopefully we have momentum to implement the best ideas.

Mike Kinghan has posted idea about build and test results portal where developers can see the status of platform builds and tests. This is example of openness and how community members can access to this data. I am not sure how much this is overlapping with Quality WG’s activities and Quality dashboard they created.

symbian_ideas

This idea have not been posted yet to ideas.symbian.org and it is related to sharing, collaboration and openness. There are currently services like yet2.com, NineSigma and InnoCentive where companies open their product development challenges and utilize talent outside their company borders. They seek solutions from on-line communities, like services listed above.

If companies get solutions from the community they reward the people behind the solution. I was thinking that this would also work in Symbian Foundation where members could seek solutions to their R&D challenges. I must post the idea to ideas.symbian.org and see if it gets support 🙂

 

That’s all from this week, let’s keep in touch!

Symbian Foundation: Creating Nimble Environment That Permits Innovation

Introduction

My name is Petri Poikolainen and I am currently working in Finnish information and community technology company called Digia. My work relates closely to Symbian development and I am currently Digia’s representative in Symbian Foundation’s Release Council. If you like to hear more about Digia or my work in Release Council you can find my contact information from the About the Blogger section.

“Create Nimble Environment that Permits Innovation…”

…is the name of the task that I volunteered in the last Release Council Workshop in London. The workshop topic was “How will Symbian OSS change the way mobile phones are delivered in the future?” and almost all release council members were present. We had great time finding out the most important topics which were: Innovation, Cost & Speed, Biz Models, Visibility and Collaboration. Under the most important topics we defined (almost) concrete actions that are implemented by the community members.

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So, why am I writing this blog article? I am writing this because the action, that I volunteered, is so broad and I cannot implemented it by myself. I need all help that is available and I try to inspire other community members to think what innovative environment in Symbian Foundation means for different stakeholders? I would like to hear opinions and views from different stakeholders: developers, package owners, member companies, council members, code contributors and so forth. All comments and ideas are welcome, they are contributions to Symbian Foundation community 🙂

If everything goes like in the movies we will have lots of good ideas which narrow the broad scope. We will identify the most important factors that creates nimble environment for innovation. After this we might be ready to create more concrete actions that are related e.g. to tools that enables innovation, methods or processes, the best practices and so forth.

What Enables Innovative environment?

I like to share my opinions about innovative environment enablers. I think that the most important enablers are openness, collaboration and sharing. I am sure that there are more important enablers and if you notice that something is missing, please collaborate and share your opinion with others 🙂

Openness, Collaboration and Sharing

Symbian Foundation has been acting openly since its beginning and this is a right track. How we can act openly by ourselves in Symbian Foundation? If we start to work openly in community it would help to boost up innovation and every member can tap the innovation potential of the community. Ideas.symbian.org is good example from openness from ideas point of view. Somebody shares idea and if the idea is interesting it gets comments and the original idea may get even better.

Innovation does not usually happen by single person sitting on the coach watching the famous sitcom (good ideas may arouse during watching the TV :). My belief is that innovation happens when collaborate and share ideas, comments, views, solution proposals. The collaboration is also one key for successful community. If we don’t collaborate and we trust only on heroic efforts of individuals it won’t last forever.symbian_idea_toaster

Without sharing we cannot create environment that permits innovation. Everybody must share something: views, opinions, ideas, comments, code and so forth. Sharing builds the community spirit, accelerate discovery, spur the innovation in the community. You are what you share.

All members can benefit if start to build “nimble environment that permits innovation”. Developers can share their ideas and ask help for certain coding challenges, they can help others who are struggling with the development. Member companies can tap the innovativeness of community in their own R&D activities: there are always talented people outside the company borders. Package owners can direct the community being open and collaborate with community inspiring them to contribute for the common good.

What next?

As said earlier this is very broad topic and I need your help to understand what “nimble environment that permits innovation” means to different stakeholders: developers, package owners, member companies, council members, platform contributors and device creators? I have opened discussion thread in Symbian Foundation Forum where we can discuss more about this topic. Of course you can comment this blog post directly and share comments immediately. I will use comments and discussions to narrow the scope and try to find the most important things that are refined forward. I believe that in some point we will have concrete and doable actions which drive the Symbian Foundation community to more innovative community.

Thank you for reading this post!

Further Reading:

  1. Wikinomics – How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything by Don Tapscott & Anhtony D. Williams
  2. We-think: Mass Innovation, Not mass production by Charles Leadbeater