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  • BozeBlog 3:44 am on April 11, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , employee engagement, , Idea Management Systems, , intrapreneur   

    I Want to be Borg / Yearnings for a Collectively Intelligent Enterprise 

    Borg Costume

    Borg Costume

    How great would it be to be part of a collectively intelligent enterprise like The Borg from Star Trek?  My skills would be valued.  I would be engaged in solving problems presented by leadership and management.  I could contribute ideas and help others with theirs.  My unique set of skills would be of benefit and the diversity of the skills of all would bring us to levels of creativity and ability we could not achieve alone.  Leadership would say things to me like “We value you for your distinctiveness and we will add it to our own”.  How would I respond to such a compliment; to such an opportunity?

    I think I would say, “Thank you Borg Queen/CEO.  Thank you for recognizing that I am a distinct individual with a unique set of skills, knowledge, experience, passions and capabilities. Thank you for valuing that distinctiveness and thank you for making good use of it.  I was beginning to think I would never get a chance to use my skills and truly contribute to the hive/company.  In fact, I was thinking of leaving this cube farm but now, I think I shall stay. (See Gallup Study reference below regarding retention1)

    While I am at it, thank you for making available to me all the other distinct individuals with their skills, knowledge and experience.  I have some really big ideas and they aren’t going anywhere without the aid of the right people.  I am sure they feel the same. In fact, I think you will see dramatically improved quality and financial performance by engaging us in this way.  (See Gallup Study reference below regarding financial results 2)

    However, since you value my opinion, I do have some suggestions.  For example, please don’t call me a “drone”. A drone is forced to do the same job day after day without the opportunity for change or recognition.  In retrospect, I’ve spent most of my career as a drone.  Now that you are engaging me for my distinctiveness, I don’t feel like a drone at all.  Please call me an intrapreneur or perhaps, an innovator.

    Next, let us not call my group a “Unimatrix”.  Instead let us call it a Community of Practice or Community of Interest.  Allow these communities to form within traditional silos but also in ways that cut across silos in our organization. That will help us better leverage best practices and develop new ones.  We don’t need to meet in person.  On-line via an Innovation Portal would be more efficient.

    Seven of Nine/Jeri Ryan

    Seven of Nine/Jeri Ryan

    Please do allow me to find and “follow”, via the Innovation Portal, individuals I consider to be thought leaders.  I have lacked a professional development plan that would enable me to be considered in areas of interest to me.  There are some people working in those areas that I would love to support, if only on an unofficial basis at first.   For example, Seven of Nine / Jeri Ryan is awesome even if she has no official rank.  I would love to collaborate with her.  (Note to self. Check with HR whether the alcove next to Jeri is available.)

    Of course, most importantly, challenge me.  Present problems and opportunities to me and my fellow innovators. Present the company goals and strategies and allow we innovators to suggest tactics.   Allow us to collaborate and propose solutions.  Don’t worry about the deluge of feedback.  A good Innovation Portal is designed to organize such feedback.  You, my Borg Queen/CEO, will only hear the best ideas and therefore not be overwhelmed.

    I know what you are concerned about.  With all of this collaboration, I will not have time for my regular duties and you will need to hire additional staff.  Not to worry.  Sadly, 20% of your staff is actively disengaged from their job anyhow. (See reference 3 below.)  So actually, by engaging us, you will finally be getting what you already paid for.

    Finally my Borg Queen/CEO, I am impressed that you are among the many forward thinking leaders that are seeking to create the Collectively Intelligent Enterprise.  However, for those who are not familiar with the concept.  I will invite them to read my next contribution, ‘How to Develop a Collectively Intelligent Enterprise.’ “


    1  2012 Gallup Meta-Analysis shows that companies with high employee engagement experience 25% – 65% lower turnover.

    2 2012 Gallup Meta-Analysis shows that companies with high employee engagement experience

    • 21% higher productivity
    • 22% higher profitability
    • Average margins of 27.4% versus 9.9%
    • 41% fewer defects

    3 2012 Gallup Meta-Analysis and the Towers Watson 2012 Global Workforce Study shows low employee engagement levels.  20% are actively disengaged.  Only 28% are engaged with 54% reporting themselves as only somewhat engaged.

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  • BozeBlog 8:44 pm on January 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: collaboration, , crowd sourcing innovation, engagement, Idea Management Systems, , innovator, out of the box   

    An Innovator’s Necessity: Getting Employees Out of the Box 

    people in org chart boxesYou don’t think of your employees as a crowd because you have organized them into neat little boxes which fit into larger boxes which interact laterally with other boxes through a few leaders who own the box into which the other boxes fit.  And while that gives us a sense of order and control, what have we lost and how do we get it back?

    You and your colleagues are in your box because you have a set of skills and a common focus.  But you have other skills.  You have other interests and passions.  Still, does anyone know about them?  Does anyone in your box or another have a means of engaging you to leverage those skills, interests and passions?

    Disengaged worker


    The Towers Watson 2012 Global Workforce Study would suggest the answer is “no”.  According to the study, only 35% of employees are highly engaged.  Meanwhile, the 2012 Gallup Meta-Analysis found that companies with high employee engagement significantly outperform those with low engagement realizing 21% higher productivity, 22% higher profitability, 41% fewer defects and 25% to 65% lower turnover.

     So why don’t companies engage their employees?  Among the variety of reasons, one would have to be, because it takes time and effort.  If we engage  employees in solving problems or addressing opportunities, leaders have to filter through the good, bad and mediocre ideas alike to get to the brilliant because no one is brilliant all of the time.

    Crowd Sourcing Innovation:
    The good news is, the crowd of employees is very good at knowing brilliance when they see it.  They are very good at collaborating and making the good ideas great.  They are great at voting so that the ideas which become brilliant can come to the attention of leadership.  Fortunately today there are tools that enable us to engage employees at scale without the time and effort that would otherwise overwhelm leadership.

    Idea Management Systems:
    Douglas C. Engelbart’s prophetic 1992 paper “Toward High-Performance Organizations” spoke to the “strategic role for GroupWare”  in “achieving tomorrow’s high-performance organizations.”  Today, notable in this set of GroupWare is the Idea Management System (IMS).  An IMS enables an enterprise to engage employees in an on-line space for collaboration where  employees are challenged to solve the problems and address the opportunities of the enterprise.  The crowd of employees work free of their boxes bringing their unique skills, judgement, expertise and passion to act as a collectively intelligent enterprise.    They create value for the enterprise and customers while creating career opportunities for themselves.

    If you want to learn more, Contact Us and follow me on Twitter at Ed Boze @IdeationNation.

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