lunes, 19 de diciembre de 2016

Who´s bringing the omelet?

We live in a process of continuous transformation, where the environment that surrounds us is changing as a result of direct or indirect actions of each of us. But, nobody reflects on the actions of the day and their interactions with the context.

Universities, companies, R&D centers and other agents are focused on Europe 2020, which is the EU's growth strategy for the next decade. The dream of all would be for the EU to become a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy. To this end, the EU has set five ambitious targets for employment, innovation, education, social inclusion and climate/energy to be achieved by 2020; and has defined the objectives: "Make innovation a priority for all regions, focus on investment and create synergies, and improve the innovation processes.

..... but what is innovation?

We all understand the verb innovate ... An innovation is the introduction of a product (good or service) or a process, new or significantly improved, or the introduction of a new marketing or organization method applied to business practices, to the organization of the work or external relations.

Some of these activities may be innovative by themselves, while others are not novel, but are necessary to activate innovation.

Innovative activities include R&D that cannot be imputed directly to the development of a specific innovation.

Innovation must have been set in practice. A new or improved product is introduced when it is brought into the market. New processes, business models or organizational methods are introduced when they start to be used in the productive or commercial process.

“An innovative company is one that has introduced an innovation for a certain period of time”

Innovation involves uncertainty, requires investments, suffers appropriations, use of new knowledge, etc ... The objective is to improve the results of the company by achieving competitive advantages or by improving the skills to innovate.

As experienced in the recent years the key is to manage innovation through people. Innovation based on working together in teamwork is an intangible asset of high added value.
Innovation teams are essential, fostering the development and creativity of people, as well as the socialization of knowledge. Therefore, the processes of generation, management and dissemination of knowledge inside and outside the team are fundamental.

What does Teamwork mean?

"Teamwork" is defined as the union of people organized in a certain way, which cooperate with a purpose, goal of performance, commitment and a common approach.

The fundamental processes in the operation of the team are coordination, communication, conflict resolution if any, decision making, setting limits and objectives, solving problems.

Where there is born a need to have relationships (attitudes, emotions, etc ...) with other complementary people to achieve challenges that individually are unreachable.

Numerous studies have shown that collectives often fail to take advantage of this potential because they are unable to effectively utilize the specialized knowledge of their members. However, there are few studies on the role of affect in group decision making, although emotions are ubiquitous in group interactions (Barsade and Gibson, 2007 and Huang, 2009). It is important to understand how affection influences group behavior.

In order to study the influence of affection, it is necessary to know the composition of the group, the affective states of each member of the group. The study of these patterns is important because understanding the specific affective composition of a group allows to investigate explicitly how the affective states of the members of the group influence their behavior and also how they interact to influence the group decision making as a whole (Jehn et al., 2010 and Klein and Kozlowski, 2000).

To clarify and broaden the previous findings, we focused on the analysis performed at New York University "FORDHAM", where two studies were conducted to investigate how the specific patterns of the affective state (both positive and negative) within three-member decision-making groups influence the processes of information exchange and their performance, both at individual and at group level.

This study was based on the following hypotheses:

H1a: Individuals experiencing positive affections will share more of their own unique information with fellow group members than individual experiencing neutral affection.

H1b: Confidence will mediate the positive relationship between positive affection and the initiation of unique information sharing.

H2: Individuals experiencing neutral affection grouped with individuals experiencing positive affection will share more of their own unique information than individuals experiencing neutral affections grouped with other individuals experiencing neutral affection.

H3: Groups containing at least one member experiencing positive affection will make better decisions than groups containing no members experiencing positive affections.

H4: Confidence will mediate the negative relationship between negative affect and the initiation of unique information sharing.

H5: Individuals experiencing negative affect grouped with individuals experiencing positive affect will share more of their own unique information than individuals experiencing negative affect grouped with individuals experiencing neutral affect or individuals experiencing negative affect.

The results of the two studies clearly demonstrate the importance of investigating the specific cognitive and affective patterns existing in groups, in addition to the collaboration level reached, showing that the interaction of specific emotional states that exist in group settings may have a great impact on group processes and results (Jehn et al., 2010 and Klein and Kozlowski, 2000). 

Finally, in terms of practicality, it should be noted that regardless of the initial affective states of the group members, using a simple methodology to induce a positive effect at the start of a group meeting can be beneficial in terms of information exchange and decision making. Even if it is not enough for group members to feel better, their interaction with their teammates will improve the performance of the group and may even improve their mood.

Taking all this into consideration, it can be positive to start any working meeting sharing an omelet and having some informal preliminary contacts that will improve the atmosphere and will facilitate positive relationships between the members of the innovation team.

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