Censemaking No.18

Organizations + Innovation

How we work together and organize that work might be the biggest determination of what impact we have on the world -- so it helps to do it well. 
This issue we've got a lot to share about how to make our organizations better, healthier, and more human.
We looking at mindfulness approaches, scaling our learning, rituals from around the world to promote healthy organizations, and practical lessons for how to manage people, and promote psychological safety in remote meetings. Add in some design tools and you've got a lot to help your organization to innovate, survive, and thrive. 
So grab yourself a coffee or cuppa' tea and let's get learning.
May good things find you (and may you find good things) - Cameron

Teams Building

Building Teams with Rituals 

We spend a lot of time engaged with our workplace so it makes sense to devote some energy to making it healthy. Software firm Atlassian looked around the globe and pulled together some of the best rituals from around the world for fostering teamwork. From Fika in Sweden (coffee + cake break) to the Japanese Chorei 'cheer' sessions, these simple rituals serve to connect us and to our collective work - even remotely. Looking to build cohesion in your team? The secret might be in some cake and cheer (instead of cake or death - see below).
Is it cake or is it death?

Mindfulness, Together

Mindfulness is a powerful approach to creating focus, clarity, and calm for many individuals. What about organizations? Research by Megan Reitz and Michael Chaskalson has looked at collective mindfulness in organizations and found it can create greater compassion for each other, inquiry (curiosity), and awareness of social, health and other issues in a way that brings people together, rather than creates distance. Mindful moments lead to innovative organizations.

Truth Telling

Can we be honest for a second? That's not always easy. Creating space for people to be honest and supportively critical can lead to positive long-term outcomes and organizational health -- if done right. David Kidder from Bionic profiles 'Listening tours', 'refounding' exercises, un-learning, and the power of conversation as ways to foster better truth-telling and communication in organizations. By setting up your expectations and building reputations for honesty and openness, truth-telling can become team building. 


Scalable Learning

How do we transform small lessons into organization-wide learning for innovation? That is the question Paul Hobcraft asks as he considers the idea of 'scalable learning.' At the top of his list is the need to increase absorptive capacity -- the ability to recognize the value of and cultivation of innovation. It's also about creating the right systems to inquire -- pursue questions -- and align tools and technologies to create the platform for these questions to be answered and shared. Without these, we might continue to learn small lessons without a big impact. 

Passion and the Explorer

John Hagel, the recently retired founder from the Deloitte Center for the Edge, is a fountain of wisdom when it comes to innovation. I've been following his work for two decades - work that just gets better over time. Creating engaging workplaces is one of John's passions -- because it's through passion and curiosity that he's found high-performing teams do their best. He outlines how passion cultivation can lead to better questions, better inquiries, and greater connections within organizations - especially in times of crisis. 

Tools & Techniques

Approaches to Journey Maps

Journey Maps are useful tools for envisioning how a service might look like to different audiences or as a means to support innovative evaluation. The N/N Design group recently published some guiding questions for how to begin a journey map process -- noting that we can look at possible future states for our service (what might be) or what things look like now (what is). In both cases, by understanding the journey, we're better suited to arriving at the right destination.

Managing People

Many 'managers' have little training on how to do it. That's the premise behind a new series at Adobe's 99u looking at how to manage people. In their latest article, they emphasize the need to set boundaries, prioritize and systematize face-to-face time (don't do it haphazardly), give fast feedback, and 'manage up'. If you're lost, maybe these might inspire ways to cultivate practices that work for you to make management work for everybody in your organization. 

Psychological Safety in Virtual Meetings

Most of us are in virtual meetings these days. How can we make our Zoom rooms a safe, productive, welcoming place? Amy Edmondson and Gene Daley draw on their organizational leadership work to propose a few simple activities to make your meetings safer. Hand-raising (instead of all-in discussions), designated chat times, rule-setting for video and audio, and use of breakout rooms (smaller conversations) can all make it easier for people to relate, engage, and feel safer communicating in a group. 
Knowledge is best when shared - please forward this on to anyone you think might be interested in it. 
“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide
what kind of difference you want to make.” - Jane Goodall
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