Steelcase

Closing the innovation gap

October 5, 2009: 10:00 AM ET

Technology isn't a cure-all for getting employees to talk to each other. In fact, it can be the enemy.

By Scott Raskin, CEO, Mindjet

Raskin: Employees need to get out from behind their desks, literally or virtually. Photo: Mindjet

Raskin: Employees need to get leave their cubicles and desks, literally or virtually. Photo: Mindjet

How do you harness the creativity of your workforce? In this age of Twitter, Facebook and other so-called Web 2.0 tools, technology seems like an obvious way to get employees to collaborate.  Ditto your suppliers, customers and other interested parties.

But collaboration, high-tech or otherwise, isn't so easy to manage. Renowned business strategist Gary Hamel is one of many business leaders to comment on the challenges of sparking workforce creativity. In his book Leading the Revolution, Hamel dedicates a chapter to Design Rules for Innovation. He notes that a company's intent on generating sustained wealth must create "an open market for ideas…a dynamic internal market for ideas within the organization."

In essence, Hamel calls for a return of the collaboration that once stood as the cornerstone of innovation in Western culture – a culture that predated Tweets and status updates.

But what are we talking about when we describe this sought-after collaboration "renaissance"? More

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