Humanize the Enterprise for Innovation

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Harnessing the Power of Engagement to Drive Innovation

The negative impact of the global economy has created barriers that prevent organizations and individuals from realizing their maximum potential.  Today’s business leaders are required to do more with less, a lot less.  Reducing costs and increasing productivity take top priority during these difficult times.  Innovative thought leaders are optimizing all business assets to remain competitive.

The most important asset to any organization is the people.  These people include employees, partners, and customers.  Organizations that survive the current transition phase and thrive in the future are the ones that harness the power of engagement.

Achieving higher levels of engagement that establish emotional bonds will create a smarter, more powerful workforce and accelerate innovation for the Enterprise.  The IBM Connect tag line says it all, “Get Social. Do Business.”  People can learn more about the benefits of Social Business from the videos and resources created by thought leaders from the IBM Connect Conference.  Evidence about employee engagement or lack thereof was presented by Jane McGonigal.  Her compelling story warns us about the losses incurred from lack of employee engagement and she shared ideas on how to fix the problem.

 “Unengaged workers cost U.S. companies $300 billion annually” – Gallup 2012

Employee Engagement Jane McGonigal

“71% of U.S. workers are not engaged” -Gallup 2012″

Jane McGonigal Employee Engagement

State of Flow, the Engagement Sweet Spot.  The state of Flow is achieved when the person is so engaged in an activity to the point that seems to alter space and time.  According to Csikszentmihalyi, flow is completely focused motivation. It is a single-minded immersion and represents perhaps the ultimate experience in harnessing the emotions in the service of performing and learning. In flow, the emotions are not just contained and channeled, but positive, energized, and aligned with the task at hand.

This part of Jane’s presentation describes how we could harness this level of engagement and harness the power of “Crowdsourcing” to accomplish objectives and achieve desired goals.  She went on to explain how much time gamers spend in the state of flow and how that compares to the time invested into creating Wikipedia.  The value of creating emotional bonds has great rewards.

WIKIPEDIA Level of Effort

The Engagement Economy

Scalable collaboration and participation is powered by the Engagement Economy.  Enabling mass participation from people with a variety of skills and abilities fuels the engagement economy.  Fostering an environment that supports fluid collaboration and eliminates barriers to participation releases innovation.  Incorporating the principles of “Game Design Thinking” can help people achieve the State of Flow during the collaboration process.  Implementing Enterprise Gamification to support fluid collaboration can accelerate innovation.

“In today’s engagement economy, where time and attention are becoming increasingly scarce and resources precious, people are likely to gravitate to activities that are authentically rewarding and filled with the opportunities to achieve, grow and socialize. The lessons that can be learned from games and game designers are one set of tools to help us increase our return in such an economy.”   The Engagement Economy How gamification is reshaping businesses by  Doug Palmer, Steve Lunceford and Aaron J. Patton (Deloitte).

The Engagement Economy

Fail Forward Fast

We learn best from our failures. Gamers spend 80% of the time failing.  The path to success includes adopting the mentality of Gamers to overcome our fear of failure.

“It is far better to have sloppy success than to have perfect procrastination. It is easy to get caught up in the endless tinkering and perfecting of a project. It is true some things require perfection – most simply need excellence. All need action today!”

“Do you find yourself waiting to launch important projects? Are you forever splitting hairs about elements that are not mission critical. Do you spend hours and hours on details that don’t matter much? “

“Start your day with action! In taking action you may fail – but even that failure will move you forward toward ultimate success. Pick a project you have been putting off and begin today to take the action which will accelerate your path to achievement. “

- Tom Peters

Fail Forward Fast Jane McGonigal

Time to Humanize the Enterprise

Creating emotional bonds that establish deeper engagement will create a more powerful workforce and accelerate innovation for the Enterprise.  Technology trends come and go, but addressing basic human needs will withstand the test of time.  Most people have a deep desire to feel connected and will do extraordinary things when empowered by emotional bonds.  Organizations that master creating Emotional Bonds will crush their competitors that don’t.

Emotional Bonds Humanize the Enterprise

Super Empowered Employees

Most of us have heard stories from people that have witnessed super human strength.  Some of these stories include seeing a frail woman lifting a car off a child.  We wonder how can this small person do a seemingly impossible feat.  Then we discover she is a mom saving her child.  Her emotional bond empowered her with super human abilities.  These kind of stories show us that we have extraordinary abilities.  Certain conditions can cause the body and brain to work differently.  Creating conditions in the organization that empowers people to be extraordinary should be the ultimate goal for the Enterprise.

Jane McGonigal wrapped up her session with a great tip about getting a vast collection of research and resources from her website: “Show Me the Science“. Nigel Fenwick (FORRESTER) shared his thoughts about her presentation in The Gamification Of Business.

Super Empowered Employees Jane McGonigal

Jane McGonigal at IBM Connect

You can use the slider to fast forward to the 39 minute mark of this video to see Jane’s presentation.

Watch live streaming video from ibmsoftware at

Achieving the Next Level of Social Business

The current economic conditions, culture shifts, and technology advancements are culminating into the perfect storm set to trigger an innovation explosion that will launch us into the future prepared to solve the world’s most complex problems.  Innovation is the “secret sauce” of business success. Implementing Innovation models in the organization should be a top priority in the Enterprise.

Social Business Innovation

Connecting with Thought Leaders can ensure Social Business Innovation success.  Here are a few important events scheduled in the near future: