I’m going to publish my thesis I submitted to obtain the Certification as Professional of Positive Psychology in 2015 in several chapters. Here’s the start:
1 My Motivation
I never managed people, and hardly gave other people the permission to manage me. I was a difficult employee. Traditional companies are valuable for many reasons, just not for me. Instead, I have always been committed to exploring how work can lead to fulfillment and growth. Recent trends show that I am no longer an outsider: increasing levels of complexity, connectivity and acceleration are changing the economy and the way in which we work. New technologies and volatile consumer behavior are disrupting markets, in a phenomenon known as “digital transformation”.
The speed of change challenges (not only) fortune 500 companies: yesterday’s tech startups are today’s most innovative global players, changing the way in which we perceive markets, companies and work. In addition, companies without managers, multi-preneurs, freelancers and small startups (people like me) are tangling up the global economy. Today, the key to innovation lies in companies’ creativity, namely their level of adaptability to cope with market volatility. Transformation is the magic word.
Small companies and startups can easily switch to more flexible structures, whereas traditional and large organizations are struggling with digital transformation. For those companies, I have created ‘positive transformation’, as a framework based upon my experience with agile teams, evolutionary organizational models and the achievements of positive psychology.
New evolutionary organizational models are my object of investigation, knowing that I will be far away from best-selling but somehow fulfilled and responding to the purpose that I sense in myself (becoming a best-selling writer may work better with diet books: I just don’t like diets).
2 The Innovator’s Current Dilemma*
(*Christensen, 1997: the original innovator’s dilemma describes the need of organizations to become innovative through flexible structures, while simultaneously providing stability for their existing business)
Most companies today strive for innovation, although creative ideas do not simply happen upon command. In today’s accelerated world, they happen through digitally connected social networks.
Organizations must thus create new structures and patterns (and unlearn old ones). The organizational pattern for innovation is “agile”, given that agile organizations are both stable and flexible. To master this paradox, they have structures with a set of core elements and they also create very dynamic elements that can be quickly adapted to new challenges and opportunities.(Aghina et al., 2015) Only recently, Google re-organized into one stabilizing component — Alphabet — for its core business, while all the other subsidiaries were organized in flexible smaller units, including Google, Calico and many more.
At the same time, many organizations have become a threat to people’s health and well-being, entailing stress, pressure and meaninglessness. Purpose, meaning or flow seem to be found anywhere but in most of today’s workplaces. Nonetheless, purpose alone is “the most valuable and highest potential segment of the workforce, regardless of industry or role” (Blakeman, 2015).
The innovator’s dilemma of today not only lies in aligning innovation with traditional business; rather, companies of today must create workplaces that nourish innovation AND enhance the well-being of their employees.