Encouragement Isnt Enough

Encouragement extends beyond rousing speeches to providing the mechanisms for innovation. As Tom DeMarco (20 0a) advises, if you wan t to i nvent so mething new/, don't also try to wrest every minute of time from your team. They need time to think, to experiment, to brainstorm. "People under time pressure don't think eas ter," eommen ts Tim Lister.Jctl Maeag ement needs to set some time to do this outside of a project's time constraint, particularly for key technology feasibility studies.

Inspiration needs to be primed with policies and practices. For continually delivering new, innovative products—decade after decade—no company bests 3M. The company backs up its core ideology of constant innovation with specific mechanisms, such as a long-standing policy that gives researchers a percentag e of their time to invest igate ideas of1 their own. 31° also has a seeies of prestigious award programs that recognize entrepreneurship, dissemination of technology, stimulation of new technology, and cross-fertilization of ideas across the company (Collins and Porras 1994).

Year after year IDFO wins more design competitions than any other firm. General manager Tom KeHey outlines the team environment he thinks builds "Hot Teams":

• First, they were totally dedicated to achieving the end result.

• Second, they faced down a slightly ridiculous deadline.

• Third, the group was irreverent and nonhierarchical.

• Fourth, tie team was well rounded and respectful of its diversity.

• Fifth, they worked in an open, eclectic space optimal for flexibility, group work, and brainstorming.

• Finally, the group felt empowered to go get whatever else it needed (Kelley 2001).

While tSere seems to be a contradiction between DeMarco's and 3M's "give them time" and Kelley's "slightly ridiculous deadline" advice, I think they are actually compatible. Astute project managers know that meeting a tight deadline may be achieved by reducing the day-to-day pressure rather than constant harping on the team. In a pressure-cooker environment, people have, or at least perceive that they have, no time to think; they just have time to do. With less pressure and more encouragement to interact with each other, teams can actually go faster in the long run by slowing down today.

Look ing at Kejey' s list0 we see that inn ovat.ou com es frnm bruaking down rigi d.ties—inlerpeds on a^ spa ce, organixafionalmwhile concentrating on the end result and its key time constraint. Managers who want to build innovative pooducts, who want to inspi re their teams to greatness, need to constantly strive for a well-defined goal and create a fluid team environment.

Devel oping dseat p roducts—particu 1 oHy nuw, vors iNn 1.° products—rrquires ex s|o oation , hot trac king ogainst a f|an. Mngellan had a vis 'on , a goal, and some ge neral ideas about sa iNng "rom Spain down the coast of South America, avoiding Portuguese ships if at all possible, finding a way around Cape Horn, —1x0 trxcking acro ss tfe Pad fic to once-again known territory in the Southeast Asia archipelagoes. Great new products come from similarly audacious goals and rough plans that often have large gaps in which "miracles happ eh." much like the m.rade o° finding the Straits o f Magellan1



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