Take a leaf out of Apple's book: 5 tips for unleashing creativity
Computers, smart phones, the internet et al have made our work habits vastly different from less than a generation ago. Perhaps more importantly, technology has heightened the speed in which companies need to constantly adapt current strategy. As a result companies need to have innovative employees who have the time and engagement to generate ideas. Despite the changes, the working environment and long held management beliefs have stayed mostly the same. And it is the staid working environment and twentieth century beliefs that are keeping a lid on unleashing company creativity. Luckily there are some easy things that can be done to unleash creativity and make teams more dynamic.
1. Diversify your strategy team
I think it is the third commandment of leadership that states “only direct reports should make up your management team”. It is a commandment that many leaders stick to religiously. Yet it honestly doesn’t make a great deal of sense. Not every person that directly reports to you will be a creative genius. That does not mean that they don’t have good things to offer. It just means that coming up with innovative ideas probably just isn’t one of them. But I guarantee you that there are people among your team that are idea machines. So look beyond your current inner circle, find the talent, and have them join your management team.
2. Create an Idea Space
My last great idea came while waiting in the dentist’s office….said no one ever! And it is pretty understandable why. The blandness of a waiting room is hardly inspiring. Yet most company meeting rooms shockingly resemble a dentist’s waiting room (copies of old People magazines excluded). So create a space with a bit more of a creative energy inducing style. Caffeine generally amps people so put in a coffee machine. Install a white board so people can jot down ideas. Get rid of the desk chairs and put in a comfortable sofa. Change the lightening, and call the room what it is, an idea space.
3. Allow people time to think
Spending the money to create an idea space wont mean squat if your people don’t actually have the time to utilize it. If you follow the “everybody must be busy-busy” school of management then it is quite likely the room will get used more like a drop in coffee station than an idea space. It is important therefore that scheduling time to use the idea space becomes and remains a priority for you and your team.
4. Nurture the ideas
People will never try to generate ideas if they are constantly worried that they will be mocked for them. Or worse, they feel like their ideas are always being ignored. So remember, what might seem like a bad idea at the beginning can actually morph into a really good one. Rather than cut off every idea, open it up to a group discussion and see where it might lead. You might end up being very pleasantly surprised.
5. Make strategy a team effort
Achieving some stupendous strategic goal might be a career target for you, but if it isn’t for everyone else then you are probably not going to get a lot of creative help and team engagement toward achieving it. So make your vision and goals a team effort. And if you don’t have a vision or goal, you now have the perfect idea space in which to develop and work on one. With your team, naturally.
About Neill Wallace:
Neill Wallace is a native of Tasmania, Australia who currently resides in Portland, Oregon. In 2004 Wallace took a position as a sales and marketing associate at a leading medical device company. Within ten years, he was promoted several times before finally leaving in 2013 as the head of global sales and marketing. During his career progression, he defied every convention on what it takes to succeed.
For more information, visit www.neillwallace.com
Fluent.ai x BSH: Voice Automating the Assembly Line
Fluent.ai has deployed its voice recognition solutions in one of BSH’s German factories. BSH leads the market in producing connected appliances—its brands include Bosch, Siemens, Gaggenau, NEFF, and Thermador, and with this new partnership, the company intends to cut transition time in its assembly lines.
According to BSH, voice automation will yield 75-100% efficiency gains—but it’s the collaboration between the two companies that stands out. ‘After considering 11 companies for this partnership, we chose Fluent.ai because of their key competitive differentiators’, explained Ion Hauer, Venture Partner at BSH Startup Kitchen.
What Sets Fluent.ai Apart?
After seven years of research, the company developed a wide range of artificial intelligence (AI) software products to help original equipment manufacturers (OEM) expand their services. Three key aspects stood out to BSH, which operates across the world and in unique factory environments.
- Robust noise controls. The system can operate even in loud conditions.
- Low latency. The AI understands commands quickly and accurately.
- Multilingual support. BSH can expand the automation to any of its 50+ country operations.
How Voice Automation Works
Instead of pressing buttons, BSH factory workers will now be able to speak into a headset fitted with Fluent.ai’s voice recognition technology. After uttering a WakeWord, workers can use a command to start assembly line movement. As the technology is hands-free, workers benefit from less physical strain, which will both reduce employee fatigue and boost line production.
‘Implementing Fluent’s technology has already improved efficiencies within our factory, with initial implementation of the solution cutting down the transition time from four seconds to one and a half”, said Markus Maier, Project Lead at the BSH factory. ‘In the long run, the production time savings will be invaluable’.
Future Global Adoption
In the coming years, BSH and Fluent.ai will continue to push for artificial intelligence on factory lines, pursuing efficiency, ergonomics, and a healthy work environment. ‘We started with Fluent.ai on one factory assembly line, moved to three, and [are now] considering rolling the technology out worldwide’, said Maier.
Said Probal Lala, Fluent.ai’s CEO: ‘We are thrilled to be working with BSH, a company at the forefront of innovation. Seeing your solution out in the real world is incredibly rewarding, and we look forward to continuing and growing our collaboration’.