Blurring the edges – a new way of seeing
Innovation happens at the edges, at the boundaries between one field of knowledge and the next. It happens when we reimagine, reinvent, repurpose what is already there and from that create something new.
Pushing ourselves out to the edge of those boundaries, exposing ourselves to bodies of work other than our own and repurposing the ideas we find there is where true innovation occurs.
For that reason our management consultancy - Frameworks for Change - regularly take ourselves to 99u, a world of creatives, technosmarts and entrepreneurs. To live for a few days in the air they breathe, their view of the world, their way of being. Purpose driven, meaningful work that contributes to the world.
In a world where many people struggle to find meaning; where work is no more than a means to generate a 'living' and yet dominates our lives, and where our best selves are suppressed and repressed on a daily basis, it is vital we find other ways to live and work. And it is in the edges and around the boundaries we find those ways of reimagining work. Work that is creatively driven, that is flexible so that life and work are integrated rather than balanced and that is driven by a desire to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.
We see companies where people are truly the most important resource. Ways of working that encourage and fuel creative contribution and where relationships truly matter. We see companies that exist to make a difference in the world. Where a business owner describes his company as his religion, bringing skills and development to thousands, whilst limiting the work hours of employees to 4 days a week and placing family above all. Where owners say your company is your best product and design, and where the heart of their work is a system that enables voices to be heard within and across every company. And another, where creating apprenticeships that liberate - not for the talented few but for the marginalised majority, is the basis of the company's existence.
We see new ways of working that create global teams bringing their best from around the world, where relationships are recognised as the essence of great work, where the lives that people live are not marginalised to the edges of 9-5 but integrated centrally to daily life, and where work is designed to capitalise on people's strengths, not force them to a mould that doesn't fit. Here is where we find the new ways of working - not in the known of the management world but in the edges, the boundaries of a world of creatives, technosmarts and entrepreneurs. This is why we go to 99u.
And for all of us who want to find new ways of doing our work, new ideas for our products, or to develop inventions that change the world...the place to find them is not in our known world of people who do the same thing, but in the world of others. We find them in the edges between their world and ours and having found them bring those ideas back to grow and flourish in new and different ways. For all of us there is our own version of 99u.
For those of you who would like to know more about 99u visit 99u.com
Helen Rees is Director of Frameworks for Change – a management company whose quest is to transform the world of work.