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Business leaders must create responsive organizations. This means organisations that can adapt, self-correct, and resiliently overcome the challenges they face. This can be a complex challenge for business any leader.

The creation and enablement of self-organizing teams can be a useful tool in the hands of business leaders when building agile organizations.

Glenda Holladay Eoyang defines Self-organizing teams as those who are continually able to construct new patterns of interaction and behavior to achieve goals set out for the team. The advantage of self-organizing teams given a clear vision for the team and business lies in the team's ability to adapt with less resourcing or organizational support. The result is a business that can meet the demands of their environments at a higher velocity.

Conditions for Self-Organizing Teams Three conditions need to be met to construct self-organizing teams, according to Eoyang:

1. A Containing Boundary around the Members The containing boundary effectively allows the group to define itself as a team. The boundary can be as simple as a physical room or a clear set of responsibilities or outcomes for the team.

2. Significant Differences between the Members of the Team The differences between team members in the form of knowledge, experience, or power are needed to generate patterns of behavior necessary for the team to form and function.

3. A Transforming Exchange between the Members A formal or informal transfer of information, resources, or energy between the members of the team. The result is a change to the broader set of interactions within the organization.

In his book, Leading Self-Organizing Teams, Siegfried Kaltenecker illustrates the “4 i’s” support self-organizing teams need from the organization:

Kaltenecker's self organizing teams model

1. Information The information necessary for the teams to organize and reach their defined outcomes

2. Infrastructure Support in the form of technical infrastructure, physical space, and required resources.

3. Instruction Educational assistance team members might need to reach their outcomes.

4. Incentive A fair and attractive incentive as a reward for reaching outcomes.

Why Self-Organizing Teams are Good for Innovation Innovation is mainly about making new ideas useful. Within a market context, we find that value-creating innovations have a shelf life before the competitive market forces start eroding the value created by the innovation. Time to market is, therefore, a key element to innovation and it is within that context that self-organizing teams possess an advantage. Self-organizing teams have the freedom to re-organize at pace to reach pre-defined outcomes. The structure creates an environment with less friction to producing innovation.

Businesses that can adapt, self-correct, and resiliently overcome the challenges will succeed against the obstacles their eco-systems throw at them. Self-organizing teams enable business agility and push the company toward success.

Gearing up for digital transformation is daunting for any business owner. Taking a business model that has proven to be successful and moving it into the online space involves challenging the status quo, questioning assumptions, and taking an honest look at what works and what doesn't if a business wants to maintain its competitive edge.

For any business to successfully navigate the transition into the digital age, it needs a solid game plan. Tim Vieyra, managing director of Comotion wrote this article about it. Read more here on BizCommunity.

Diversity increases the probability of success in the innovation process. Greater diversity allows for the creation of multiple points of view. Viewing the problem space from different lenses can be beneficially open opportunities or avoid expensive pitfalls. Unfortunately, creating diversity is resources intensive exercise.

One way to overcome the resource constraint while achieving diversity, and thereby access to knowledge, is through networking. Networking broadens networks and widens the inflow of knowledge into the problem-solution space. excitement

Networking, in this context, is the creation of both formal and informal ties between people who share a similar meaning over both short and long term durations.

Walter Powell and Stine Grodal have studied networking within the field of innovation; in summary, there are four different types of networking:

Walter Powell and Stine Grodal's network for innovation topology

1. Primordial

Members of these networks have related interests, values, and obstacles. These connections typically exist before the formulation of a specific innovation. Innovations arise out of similar pain points or perceived opportunities.

2. Invisible Collage

These are networks of loosely coupled participants, often ring-fenced together to create a particular innovation. Once the system has served its purpose or the change established, the network is typically disbanded.

3. Supply Chains

Supply chains are linked nodes often portrayed by well-defined deliverables. Strict overarching forces harmonize each nodes involvement. Each node within the network has a particular purpose during the production of innovation in this context.

4. Planned

The formulation of planned network happens with a definite intention and often found within legally stipulated parameters. The members of the planned network are selected or recruited due to a particular strength or skill they would bring to the network. Bonds are intentionally forged to formulate an innovation.

Innovations resulting from knowledge inputs out of diverse parts have a higher chance of success. Innovation networking, when appropriately used, can deliver an efficient increase in diverse knowledge during the innovation process.


Icons from illustrio used under the illustrio license

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