An artist’s illustration that social collaboration thrives at the Edge of Chaos at the transition region between chaos and order. It could be anything! So much for bananas and so much for evolution. Source Copyright: Work Monkey Labs
Social collaboration, collaborative improvisations, and innovation happen at the Edge of Chaos. The Edge of Chaos is a state between ‘complete order and no order at all’. A state or a region where most systems (Biological, Physical, Economic, and Social) operate, adapt, evolve and grow between total order and complete randomness or chaos.
The transition phase between chaos and order and somewhere at the Edge of Chaos is where new dynamic life cycles are born. It is thought to be the epicenter of our evolutionary processes, where old local structures are broken and new patterns of organization are born. The systems become self-organising and evolving on their own at this transition phase.
One such system within the reach of all us is the Internet and its culture. The Internet provides the space for creative conversations to happen all the time. The people behavior and the current internet culture is reminiscent of this state – Edge of Chaos.
In a recent discovery, it is understood that even complex unsolved mathematical problems can be solved by collaborative social conversations among collective minds from all over the world.
People have understood that newer areas, ideas, directions, and angles would not have been possible, had they not bounced their thoughts and ideas with others. For others, are people belonging to different disciplines and walks of life. A sense of altruism fills the air and it pays to be altruistic.
We will continue to evolve
Serendipity flows only quicker through a dense concentration of people (not just from a few bright minds) and our ability and capacity to solve our world’s problems only get enhanced. We will continue to evolve and we have not reached our potential yet.
Building those structures, which is so essential to be at the Edge of Chaos, creating dense social networks for social media collaboration and managing that knowledge is central to the focus here at Work Monkey Labs.
Social collaboration, Social networks, Crowds and Swarms
Please go ahead to read what we have done so far to manage that knowledge. So far so good.
This post is the part 2 of the series, Social collaboration in workplaces. You can find the part 1 here.
Today, we will talk about how social collaboration in workplaces can help in areas where with time pressure to complete the work, there is no place for creative endeavors.
“Don’t be fooled into thinking that time pressure will, in itself, spur creativity. That’s a powerful illusion but an illusion nonetheless.” These words are taken from an article in Harvard Business Review titled “Creativity under the Gun”. You can find the article here.
As the authors say at the end, it is all about dodging the bullets and bullets are a metaphor for all kinds of distractions.
With that in mind, what I would like to say is…
Do not rush creativity
Creativity needs some time to unfold. The sparks of insight that we encounter, need some time to internalize and recombine within the mind to fructify.
Research says that time bound and high-pressure jobs do not give rise to creative thinking nor new ideas.
Typically, in an organization managers give a day or two off after a task and particularly for tasks with tight deadline schedules. The fact is creative juices will not flow even after a day or two of completion. Employees often have to deal with something called the “deadline hangover” which lasts for several days. It could be because of exhaustion or post productive paralysis say some psychologists.
Fostering social collaboration at work is an art as well as science. Whether you are a new entrepreneur or an executive in an established company, fostering social collaboration and thereby leading to innovation needs the acceptance of chaos in the initial product development stages.
It is imperative that we avoid making detailed long-term plans but instead focus on the smaller details of users or customers’ needs and wants. We have to allow managerial teams to compete with many alternative designs and projects within a framework of goals and limits to achieve the desired results.
Further, it is a common understanding and perception that small companies foster greater social collaboration at work than large companies. This is not necessarily true. However, there is a lot to learn from the managerial practices of some of the world-class companies on fostering social collaboration at work and innovation. These practices can help other companies and managerial teams to learn and be more socially collaborative.
Firstly, what is social collaboration at work ?
Social collaboration at work is a set of processes where groups of individuals interact with each other to do common goals. The interaction might also be a ‘Brainstorming’ activity where people participate and new ideas emerge out of the participation and contribution.
Adopting social media in workplaces is both an art and a science and they both go hand in hand together. For that matter, conducting business analysis also has shades of both art and science and not much relevance is given to the ‘art’ portion of it these days.Conducting Business Analysis is a mandatory precursor and a must do exercise even before we attempt to carry out and adopt enterprise tools in workplaces.
For the benefit of some of us, the IIBA (International Institute of Business Analysis) a much-recognized body in this field, defines Business Analysis as a ‘practice to bring in a change in an organizational context by defining the needs and recommending solutions to the stakeholders’.
Fair enough! but then in the recent years, the implementation and adoption of social media tools in organizations has brought the ‘art’ portion of business analysis to the forefront. This is not to say that logical analysis and methodological rules are no less important either.
There is much written about the logical analysis and rules of implementation. What I attempt to write below is my natural understanding of how ‘adopting social media in workplaces’ can be taken up.From a business analysis perspective and to bring in a positive productive change and intended benefits there are three approaches to adopting social media in workplaces. They are:-
- The all at once together approach.
- Phased approach.
- The bottoms up approach.
There are myriad tools which run inside workplaces and not all of them have the connecting power nor the acceptance among employees, as social media tools. Once they are implemented, they become a way of life inside the organization subject to their usage and popularity among the employees. Its usage builds social capital.Having said this, there are ample opportunities for people in the HR function.
People who work as HR Generalists, HR business analysts and OD (Organizational development) consultants can intervene and learn from these exercises. Even to the extent that they can glean for information and conduct the organizational scan, which they do regularly as part of their jobs for measuring employee satisfaction levels.