Sculpture at Chatsworth House, Derbyshire - IMG_1034
Originally uploaded by TwentyTrees
In the ghosts of past successes I wrote of Giant Hairballs that snarl up creativity in organisations..
Corporate appropriateness comes from looking up to see The ghost of past successes but not backward to feel the inspiration, hard work and risk-taking that actually created that success. Managers that are creative leaders know how to tell those inspiring stories that energises the team to go off at tangents, to explore and discover- to become Teams from Heaven.
The challenge in organisations, whatever their size is to accept that risk-taking, confident that the team leadership and individual capabilities and dedication factor up to a big-hit innovation.
Last night I attended the Inaugural lecture of Professor Alison McKay entitled
Designing for the unexpected.
The introductory news release states:
The business environment within which engineers and designers are
working is changing dramatically. The days of designing, making and
selling physical products are becoming
numbered as customers increasingly demand product performance and through-life support services that meet their individual needs.
This lecture will explore how the demands on engineering design systems are changing: from the need to support the design of shapes and products through to support for the design and operation of networks of organisations and the services that they deliver.
The actual lecture exceeded expectations as Prof. McKay took us on a journey across her landscape of discovery, highlighting the challenges of engineering teaching where students tend to be internally focussed on the 'problem'; conventional industrial design where the student is focussed on 'form' and the real world that needs designers who are integrators of hard and soft sciences. Moreover they need to do this integration over a long period working with products containing technology that may be obsolescent by the time they are in service and obsolete before they are retired.
Pixar atrium picture uploaded by Andrew Butts. Used with thanks under CC.
which, I believe, makes a case for turning out individuals from Professor Alison McKay 's Product Design BDes with some 'rough edges' rather than 'well-rounded' ones that slide into a slot in the corporate structure! Whilst good design is an integration of the Points of view of many disciplines, great design is the outcome of creative conflict between those disciplines. That requires 'attitude', which organisations find challenging. Brad Bird articulates it very well in the article and there is another interview here. I'll explore Brad Bird's interview and the lessons we can draw from them elsewhere.
ADDENDUM: This week's Economist print edition has an article Disney: Magic restored That analyses Disney's ups and downs over the past few years. Here is a relevant extract:
"What accounts for this renaissance? Mr Iger's management style is said by many to have unlocked Disney's creativity. “There was already creativity inside Disney, but Bob removed the barriers to it,” says Peter Chernin, chief operating officer of News Corporation, a rival media group. “Michael Eisner was all about his own creativity,” says Stanley Gold, a former Disney board director who led a campaign to oust Mr Eisner in 2004, referring to the way in which the former boss meddled in the detail of Disney's parks and movies. In contrast, he says, “Bob pushes creative decisions to the people below him.”
In addition, Mr Iger's acquisition of Pixar, a studio that insists on creative originality, has sent a signal to people inside and outside Disney. “A few years ago we weren't necessarily seen by the creative community as the place to be,” says Tom Staggs, Disney's chief financial officer, “but now that has changed and people want to work here.” Mr Iger immediately put Pixar's top people in charge of Disney's animation business, and last year he put an end to the practice of making cheap direct-to-video sequels of old favourites, such as “Cinderella II: Dreams Come True”—Disney's equivalent of frozen food.
One former Mouseketeer argues that Mr Iger cannot take much credit for Disney's recent string of hits. “All the great new shows from Disney were developed, and many of them launched, when Michael Eisner was leading the company,” says David Hulbert, a former president of Walt Disney Television International. “The TV and studio creative cycle lasts several years, so we will have to wait some time yet to see what Bob Iger's cautious, centralised and consensual management style produces,” he adds....
....But its creative momentum and proven ability to extract value from its hits means it can afford to feel more optimistic about the future than most big media firms."
So maybe we are seeing what a great deal of great knowledge-creating organisation leaders do... Be autocratic about the goals but democratic about the means."