Cooperation is Essential for Innovation


The winds are turning, listening to Tim Cook, Cooperation (which we prefer to Collaboration) seems to be the new direction.

“my deep belief that collaboration is essential for innovation”

That’s not new, humanity would probably still be hunting and gathering if cooperation was not at the foundation of what makes us human.

The problem though is that we seem to be circling back. Nick Wingfield wrote in his recent article in the NY Times:

One concern in getting rid of forceful executives like Mr. Forstall and Mr. Sinofsky is that their employers will begin developing products by committee, rather than in the sometimes heated crucible of clashing personalities, where someone with the strongest vision can prevail.

What’s the difference between “Cooperation” and “Developing Products by Committee”? We believe that BOLT can help your turn a failed approach to innovation (Develop by committee) into a successful one (Cooperation).

If we look at a typical organization, we see 4 pillars: Leadership, Culture and Structure, Execution.

We all understand that cooperation and motivation are needed and obviously, the more the better.

The arrows represent the major driving forces between the elements of an organization, however, each element influences every other element (for instance structure also influences innovation, or culture influences marketing).

The problem that Apple or Microsoft will face is that Culture and Structure are extremely difficult to change and when they change, they often change in an unpredictable way. A charismatic leader like Steve Jobs can impose a certain culture and most likely bypass or at least transcend the structure of the organization, but the very reason why people like Sinofsky and Forestall have succeeded is precisely because someone is needed to tame their intricacies and inefficiencies. These intricacies, inefficiencies and unpredictability are the very reasons why cooperation and motivation is so difficult to achieve and they are the reason why “developing products by committee” does not work.

BOLT takes a completely different approach to the problem. BOLT does not attempt to fix or even change the culture and structure of an organization. For the most part, we believe they are irrelevant to the organization’s success.

BOLT drives cooperation and motivation through communication and insight. If we can change the way we communicate, we will change the way we cooperate, if we reach higher levels of insight into what needs to be accomplished the structure will adapt, there is no structure, by itself, which can result in delivering higher levels of insight.

What could you expect if communication, insight, cooperation and motivation become the core of your organization? (Green arrows) First, leaders can harness the collective intelligence of their organization when formulating the strategy. When the organization is involved at some level of the formulation, cooperation and motivation grow, and you can expect both innovation to improve and execution to speed up.

When everything will be said and done, BOLT’s main contribution will be the realization that Culture and Structure are irrelevant to achieve higher levels of cooperation and motivation. To succeed, leaders such as Tim Cook or Steve Ballmer, and their organization as a whole, need to focus on the way we communicate and raise, by all means possible, the level of insight into what is being accomplished.

BOLT is the best tool to change the way we communicate and achieve higher levels of insight.

Richard Veryard wrote a post on the same topic.

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