Thursday, January 26, 2006

Anthropologist, Hurdler, Experimenter...Positive Roles that Should be Found in Every Workplace

The Globe and Mail: Populate your workplace with 10 positive roles

Tom Kelley's new book, The Ten Faces of Innovation explores unique job roles that should be found in foward-thinking organizations. You may already have individuals in the roles (most likely they have boring titles like, VP, Manager, and Customer Service Rep). Perhaps it's time to think a little differently to encourage true innovation in your workplace.

Here are brief descriptions of each vital role from Canada's Globe and Mail...

The anthropologist observes human behaviour in order to develop a deep understanding of how people interact physically and emotionally with products, services, and spaces.

The experimenter prototypes new ideas continuously, learning through trial and error. Those experiments can be quick and dirty -- they don't need to be expensive -- and need not just be about products or services but about marketing, sales and distribution options.

The cross-pollinator explores other industries and cultures, translating the findings into your company's systems or products. Ideas from the piano and the sewing machine helped in creating the typewriter.

The hurdler knows how to get past the many obstacles that can prevent an idea from seeing the light of day. After the idea of Scotch tape was initially rejected, its inventor used subterfuge to get the equipment to build the first batch, paying for it in $99 installments to keep below his $100 authorization limit.

The collaborator helps bring people together, leading from the middle of the pack and encouraging others to see merit in a proposal. On teams, the collaborator uses his or her diplomatic skills to hold the group together if it threatens to splinter or disband.

The director gathers a talented cast and crew and helps to spark their talents, like Steven Spielberg.

The experience architect designs compelling experiences to connect at a deep level with customers' needs, or to make the workplace better for employees. He or she sets the stage for positive encounters with your organization through products, services, digital interactions, spaces, or events.

The set designer creates a stage on which people can do their best work. After watching students at the University of California's Irvine campus, IDEO staff turned from anthropologists into set designers and created door-less alcoves with whiteboards, plug-ins for laptops, and flat-panel monitors for collaboration throughout the central hallways so students could work together.

The caregiver anticipates needs to make sure customers and team members are properly cared for.

The storyteller builds internal morale and external awareness through compelling narratives that communicate a fundamental human value or reinforce a specific cultural trait.

To learn more about Tom Kelley and The Ten Faces of Innovation, be sure to visit his website.

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