The Bottom Line On Happiness

Haha – chided on my CEO’s blog after breezily asserting in my post that ‘being involved is energizing’. As he points out, there’s quite a lot of serious evidence that happier employees are in fact more productive.

Some creativity is driven by rivalry. Jim Al-Khalili’s brilliant series on the atom yesterday evening (give yourself a treat – it’s on BBC i-Player until 8 Nov ) mentioned the bitter intense intellectual and personal rivalry, decades-long, between physicists Richard Feynman and Murray Gell-Mann, who had adjacent offices at Caltech. [both won Nobel Prizes for their work].

But imho a lot of creativity comes from joy and happiness. It comes from the jumble of dialog, from the intermingling of perspectives. If the context is open, so there is no fear of failure, and new thinking won’t just get crushed by orthodoxy, then the sparks of insight will fly from the collision of ideas – not personalities.

This latter ‘social’ collaborative creativity seems a lot more appealing and humane. And it may ultimately yield the more interesting results – what Steven Johnson, author of Where Do Good Ideas Come From?, has termed emergent innovation, the kind of innovation that takes you by surprise (as against a more driven focussed innovation where you kind of know at the start where the answer lies).

Any organization that wants to still be in business next quarter has to structure this IdeasFest. It needs an enterprise-wide collaborative framework that enables everyone’s involvement and highlights the way in which so much is interconnected, so that my cost saving project doesn’t just impose higher costs on your department. It needs a common language for this creative dialog: end-to-end process. And, to be sustainable, it needs a governance framework that can orchestrate change and ensure compliance. Remind you of anything? ;-)

Mike Gammage is VP and Principal Consultant at Nimbus Partners. Mike has worked in performance improvement consulting, and more recently the BPM space, for more than two decades. He is particularly interested in the overlap between two very dynamic worlds: BPM and perfomance improvement (the drive across all industries to standardise, improve and automate) and sourcing and the virtualisation of the enterprise (the drive to create more flexible and lower-cost service solutions through outsourcing, offshoring and shared services). In either case, Mike believes the enterprise needs a single source of truth about its end-to-end business processes, as well as a framework for the design and implementation of change. It also needs to connect the end-user and all other stakeholders to ensure the adoption of change. These are the keys to sustainable transformation and continuous improvement.