Nightline video: IDEO & the shopping cart project Analysis


#1

Nightline video: IDEO & the shopping cart project
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M66ZU2PCIcM).

What are some examples of how leadership, teamwork, and innovation work in this situation? What are the potential areas where leadership, teamwork, or innovation could fail in this situation? Use and cite scholarly articles as necessary to support your answer.


#2

IDEO is a global design company committed to creating positive impact. The firm founded in 1991 in Palo Alto, California has employed over 600 people as of 2015. The firm employs people from a number of disciplines including business design, branding, communication design, food science, education, food science, and organizational design among others (IDEO, 2017).

The company has served the design needs of clients such as Apple, Coca Cola, Nike and Ford. They consider themselves as the expert in the field of process of designing rather than the specific product design itself. To add to that, the company hires people from a diverse background. There are MBAs, linguists, marketing expert, psychologists and biology students in their team. The company also believes that the team leader should be someone good with groups and not someone because that person has been with the company for a long time. The diversity in team members help bring a lot of innovative ideas from a variety of perspectives. The video shows how IDEO works in designing a shopping cart for a client.

Leadership

Leadership is a process by which a person influences others to accomplish an objective and directs the organization in a way that makes it more cohesive and coherent (Sharma & Jain , 2013). The team leader in this project is Peter Skillman who is an engineer and is the leader as he is good with groups. He could inspire his team in thinking differently and bringing innovation in this project. He made every idea feel welcomed and in the end the team decided to use the most useful part from every idea.

Nonetheless, in one of the scenes, it was shown that the seniors, or so to say, were having an informal meeting which would contradict to the team leader’s statement that the leader might not be the one who has expertise in shopping carts specifically. It could also have made the other members feel left alone. And, at some point of time, they also introduced time limits for the team to present their ideas.

Teamwork

IDEO has a diverse team. It was made clear in the video by Peter Skillman that it was impossible for the boss to be the one with insightful experience on shopping carts. They believed that every one of them had some inputs to give in the development of these carts. Besides, the team also got contrasting perspectives on the designing process due to the presence of divergent team members. They were all working on the same goal. They had ideologies like encouraging wild ideas and building on the ideas before judging it. They attentively listen to each other’s ideas. They work together to build many prototypes as they believe in enlightened trial and error.

As much good of a team work is depicted in the video, it is not clearly shown as to why the people who were chosen to stay till midnight were chosen. The teams were working as a cohesive unit but such kind of differentiation could have divided the team members as they could have felt isolated or had to stay even if they were not feeling like staying.

Innovation

The team is divided into different group based on the need area. They build prototypes which had scanners attached to the cart, ones which could pile handbaskets into and some which enabled customers to communicate with the supermarket staff remotely. As they have different focus objects to work on, they came up with different ideas. A product as a supermarket cart is used by a diverse group of people and they have different needs and expectations from the product. If they were all working in a single group with a single broad goal, they might not have come up with a product. But they have been divided into multiple groups with varying goals which fostered innovations in the product. Some of them focused on child security while some worked on communication while building the mock cart.

The team are given liberty to go to the market, know what people want, observe the problems people face at the supermarkets and work on their ideas. However, later they were obliged to finish their work sooner which could have affected in their final product.

References

IDEO. (2017, 01 08). Fact Sheet. California.

Sharma, D. K., & Jain , M. (2013). Global Journal of Management and Business Studies. Leadership Management: Principles, Models and Theories , 309-318.


#3

In the IDEO innovation room, there is no leadership hierarchy. In fact they believe that having a seniority ladder of positions would be counterproductive as the leader will not have insightful knowledge about everything. There have a more teamwork and innovation approach to leadership, which has been successfully implemented. Even the main facilitator is just a contributing member of the group whereas the boss works alongside others as a member contributing equally to the project. The only bar that he has set in the room is that the members have to be unusually original in their thought and has to be able to challenge his own concept about the project.

“You have to involve, in some way, everyone who must live with the results, and you must make it possible for others to do good work. (Kouzes & Posner, 2003, p. 13)”

All of team members have been given responsibility to contribute to the project. This strategy also known as locos of control makes all the members equally invested in the project and they are motivated to give more to reach the goal. There is however one golden rule and that is no one can criticize the ideas of others but has to build on their ideas. This leadership strategy brings the group together even in the height of the chaotic innovation process when all are tired.

It is clearly evident that the power of Innovation at IDEO is closely linked with the teamwork. The team is formed with member from various background. Some hold an MBA degree, while others are linguist, a biology major student, a marketing expert, an engineer and even a psychologist of different age groups. At first glance, it would be difficult to judge the competency of the group based on the back ground of the members. But the one thing they have in common is that they are all open minded and focused on the project which bring a synergic bond for tackling the designing issues of the grocery cart. Their team work even extends to the outskirt of the room premises to the people who are directly involved in using and repairing these carts.

“As a result, the successful teamwork, its high cohesion and performance, is only possible on the grounds of enabling the staff’s potential. In achieving that goal, the leadership and team-building promote not only the engagement of managers and company’s staff in the innovation processes but also, in different forms, of clients, suppliers, society or state representatives and local communities . (ADEEB, 2017)”

An autocratic leadership or a traditional structure of authority where decisions are handed down from the higher up could affect the flow of the innovation and would cripple the outcome in IDEO. A leadership practice where the lone leader sits at the top, gives decisions without working together with the group cannot foster an environment, as seen in the IDEO room, where teamwork can survive. Without a good team work, the members will not be motivated to work to their optimum potential and the innovation would gradually degrade. As pointed out by the project leader at IDEO “Enlightened trial and error succeeds over lone genius.”

It is however difficult to point out that certain type of leadership bring about innovation while other types does not. In IDEO the leadership trait encourages people to contribute their thoughts making them an equal part of the final output. Sill it is difficult to ascertain that a leadership trait and approach is directly related to better innovation and teamwork. “However, research on leadership styles offers instructive insights regarding the specific effects of various means that are relevant for innovations. There are relevant insights on how to produce specific effects regarding attitudes, mindset, trust, behavior, competence creation, etc. (Kesting, Ulhøi, Song, & Niu, 2015, p. 35)” At the end of the day it is the team that trust each other, gives equal amount of focus and works with an open mind and be constructive even through the chaotic process of what innovation stands for will succeed.

Reference

ADEEB, M. (2017). INNOVATION MANAGEMENT: THE IMPORTANCE OF LEADERSHIP AND TEAMWORK IN BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS. Economica , 52.

Kesting, P., Ulhøi, J. P., Song, L. J., & Niu, H. (2015). The impact of leadership styles on innovation management - a review and a synthesis. Journal of Innovation Management , 22-24.

Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (2003). The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership. In B. P. Jim Kouzes, Leadership Challenge Workbook (First Edition ed., p. 13). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, A Wiley Imprint.


#4

IDEO is an international design and consulting firm founded in Palo Alto, California in 1991. It is known for designing high tech medical equipment, computer mouse, ski goggles and computer screens amongst others. The firm uses design thinking methodology that is why its involvement is increasing in management consulting and organizational design. The video is about a challenge given to the IDEO team to redesign shopping cart within five days. It demonstrates how leadership, teamwork and innovation goes hand on hand in an organization.

Designing a shopping cart was something the company had not done earlier but the leader was confident that they can do it within the stipulated time frame. This shows how they are willing to take risks and try out new ideas incorporating the challenge the process concept given by Kouzes and Posner. Here the manager is not the leader, but the one who is good with working in team is leading. It believes completing a task is more about the team than the leader. The manager is sharing the vision with the entire team so that everyone in the team knows what they are doing and why. The practice of inspiring a shared vision can be found here.The belief that it is not the leader who has best ideas and the enlightened trial and error method succeeds over the planning of the lone genius shows that they enable others to act by making the team members feel valued.

The task of redesigning the shopping cart in five days was completed because of the active participation of everyone in the team. The team members were not product experts but they were experts in the process of design. The diversity of the team members allows different perspectives to the design challenge. The team members did not have any title and permanent job assignments that motivated them to take charge of their own work. The decision of the team to split up into groups and speak with the product experts to facilitate quick learning depicts their cimmittment to the work. There was a lot of brainstorming, discussion, demonstration, active listening and communication that facilitates the team work.

The team identified the problems with existing shopping carts and came up with the concepts to be incorporated in redesigning it that includes child safety, modularity while shopping, easy handling and facilitated checkout that provides the base of innovation.The no hierarchy system in the organization promotes innovative culture. The company’s practice of one conversation at a time, encouraging wild ideas, differing judgement and buliding on ideas of others provide basis for the innovation. The open-mindedness, demand of new ideas and belief that chaos can be constructive are the recipe of the organization for innovation that has been clearly depicted in the video.

Though this video is more about the success of IDEO because of leadership, teamwork and innovation, there are potential areas where these could fail. The consulting approach it follows is very time consuming and sometimes may cause delay in the execution due to long hours invested in planning. The deadline provides time constraint that may result in compromising of the design and innovation of the team. The idea of putting down everyone’s idea in the board for discussion is commendable but the members whose ideas are rejected or not discussed properly may feel demotivated to work. It is not always true that people from diverse background will form effective team as shown in the video because we have ample examples of team not performing well due to inabilty to reach to a concensus because of team members from varied background. The informal relationship between the team members may sometimes lead to unprofessioanal behaviors at work place.

References

Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (2012). The Leadership Challenge. San Francisco: A Wiley Brand.


#5

Leadership is all about driving the team forward to achieve a common goals and objectives of the organization. Leader must have a clear objective and demonstrate effective leadership capability. In the case of IDEO who were given the project to redesign the shopping cart completely in just five days, didn’t believe in hierarchy of bosses as the boss can’t have the insightful idea of the project and without it the boss can’t lead the team with a clear vision in a very highly innovative work environment. They don’t have a clear leadership position when they start to work with no titles and positions coming in play and all the other people in the team being from a diverse professional background ranging from MBA graduate to one from a medical field. They challenged the process by taking the project and the deadline of five days which shows the ability to take risks and trying out new ideas. In the concept of the practices of exemplary leadership (Kouzes & Posner, 2012), the leader challenged the process.

As IDEO provided everyone the same ground to stand on the project development, everyone had the same power of influence. All the members of the team divided in groups and individually were given equal part to play in the project. This makes the member of the team feel valued as they’re contributing towards the completion of the project, making them motivated and want to give their best every moment. The concept of building on the idea instead of criticizing the ideas of others fosters collaboration and evolution of the ideas to mature further. It can also be referred to as locus of control as it makes people think that they’re responsible for the project and contribute even in chaotic and tiring situations.

Teamwork is clearly visible in IDEO and their workstyle with team forming from people ranging from a wide professional background of engineers, MBA graduate, linguist, marketing expert, psychologist and several others. It is hard to predict from outside that the team will jell in and be able to perform but on field, they excel. The trust is there and the person elected as project lead is because of him being good with people and not based on seniority shows the feeling of the compact team.

In addition to that, IDEO is able to influence innovation with proper planning, research by asking the right question to the right people and working as a team listening to all the viewpoints and working towards a solution. Furthermore, the teams work to build on the ideas that they have created and not discredit it, enabling them to further enhance the product innovatively to give shape to an innovative product as required.

To pin point and say a certain leadership style will work and the other won’t is really difficult as there’s nothing that is right in any situation. A leadership style which is right and worked for a group mightn’t work for others. But to answer the question, IDEO leadership style fostered collaboration, teamwork, leadership and innovation as it allows everyone to have their say on the product development equally with no heads. But if there’s someone at a higher up level and tries to influence his/her ideas on the project while not being willing to listen to what the team comes up with, the entire flow will collapse and cause the project to cripple. If the same idea is taken into software development, it’s very unlikely that it’ll work as the development process requires a very rigid process most of the times with clear instructions on what’s needed from the software as the output. So, the leader here must be a person to oversee all the groups or a group leads who is overlooked by the leader and the team must follow the workflow.

References

Kouzes, J., & Posner, B. (2012). The Leadership Challenge (5th ed.). Somerset: John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated.


#6

IDEO is a global design company committed to creating positive impact. The firm founded in 1991 in Palo Alto, California has employed over 600 people as of 2015. The firm employs people from a number of disciplines including business design, branding, communication design, food science, education, food science, and organizational design among others (IDEO, 2017).

The company has served the design needs of clients such as Apple, Coca Cola, Nike and Ford. They consider themselves as the expert in the field of process of designing rather than the specific product design itself. To add to that, the company hires people from a diverse background. There are MBAs, linguists, marketing expert, psychologists and biology students in their team. The company also believes that the team leader should be someone good with groups and not someone because that person has been with the company for a long time. The diversity in team members help bring a lot of innovative ideas from a variety of perspectives. The video shows how IDEO works in designing a shopping cart for a client.

Leadership

Leadership is a process by which a person influences others to accomplish an objective and directs the organization in a way that makes it more cohesive and coherent (Sharma & Jain, 2013). Nonetheless, in one of the scenes, it was shown that the seniors, or so to say, were having an informal meeting which would contradict to the team leader’s statement that the leader might not be the one who has expertise in shopping carts specifically. It could also have made the other members feel left alone. And, at some point of time, they also introduced time limits for the team to present their ideas.

Teamwork

IDEO has a diverse team. It was made clear in the video by Peter Skillman that it was impossible for the boss to be the one with insightful experience on shopping carts. They believed that every one of them had some inputs to give in the development of these carts. Besides, the team also got contrasting perspectives on the designing process due to the presence of divergent team members. They were all working on the same goal. They had ideologies like encouraging wild ideas and building on the ideas before judging it. They attentively listen to each other’s ideas. They work together to build many prototypes as they believe in enlightened trial and error (Weissbach, Goodrich & Ford, 2004).

Innovation

The team is divided into different group based on the need area. They build prototypes which had scanners attached to the cart, ones which could pile hand baskets into and some which enabled customers to communicate with the supermarket staff remotely. As they have different focus objects to work on, they came up with different ideas. A product as a supermarket cart is used by a diverse group of people and they have different needs and expectations from the product. If they were all working in a single group with a single broad goal, they might not have come up with a product. But they have been divided into multiple groups with varying goals which fostered innovations in the product. Some of them focused on child security while some worked on communication while building the mock cart (Hargadon & Sutton, 1997).

The team are given liberty to go to the market, know what people want, observe the problems people face at the supermarkets and work on their ideas. However, later they were obliged to finish their work sooner which could have affected in their final product.

References

Hargadon, A., & Sutton, R. I. (1997). Technology brokering and innovation in a product development firm. Administrative science quarterly, 716-749.

Sharma, M. K., & Jain, S. (2013). Leadership management: Principles, models and theories. Global Journal of Management and Business Studies, 3 (3), 309-318.

Weissbach, R. S., Goodrich, J. G., & Ford, R. M. (2004). Lessons Learned and Best Practices in Multidisciplinary Teamwork and Teaching of a Small Product Realization Course. age, 9 , 1.


#7

In the above video Ideo, a product development firm are given a project to completely redesign the old shopping carts into a new model in just 5 days. Ideo has slogans like “One focus at a time” and “Encourage wild ideas.”

Ideo is a company of skilled designers who calls themselves not an ‘expert’ but ‘experts’ in the process of designing stuffs; either it is a toothbrush or a tractor. They believe in providing opportunities by applying their creating process and encouraging each team to develop an idea, which can be utilized to make something new.

Leadership is when a leader takes it upon themselves to include others as much as possible, by delegating tasks and not doing all of the ‘leader’ jobs by themselves (Banik, 2017). Here at Ideo, all the members in the team sit together and discuss on how the new design of shopping carts is to be made. The boss believes that he cannot have all the insight knowledge of designing a cart alone hence, these people are divided into the groups to see which team brings what through their innovation and observation on the uses and design of shopping carts.

They have diversified group of skilled people from all the streams like an engineer, a Harvard MBA, a linguistic, a biologist and a marketing officer. This helps them to put and examine situations from different point of view. They do not appoint people by their experience but by their capability of handling groups and decision-making abilities. For example, the Project manager here have only 6 years’ experience and only appointed because he is good with groups. This means to take advantage of the skill rather than searching for experience.

Ideo do not follow hierarchy of “the top manager and then their managers and juniors.” it’s the team who gives birth to innovations. Bosses are the faces of the organization in the market, it is impossible to have the insight knowledge and experience of everything. Hence, other members at Ideo are treated equally, inspiring others to share their ideas and strictly restrict criticisms as it restricts people from sharing their opinions freely. They always encourage teamwork. They made 4 to 5 teams and gave each team a need area. They like what they were working for which shows their belief on the job and team. For e.g. The Biologist continued working here, rejecting many offers from medical field.

The Project manager and the marketing executive believes not to follow autocratic leadership but given a time bound so that the target will be achieved in the given time. Teamwork and the joint efforts of the group are valued. They decided to take some ideas from the design of each group and make one shopping cart; as a result, it helped to foster the team working in the company.

Areas of Failure

The main areas of leadership could fail by the set time bound for designing the cart. When a certain time is set, it gives stress to the employee to finish it within a time limit. This results in sickness of employees, which will become a huge disadvantage to the team and the company. Ideas takes times to develop. As it took Sir Newton many years to understand the ‘Law of Gravitation.’

The another reason of failure could be the autocratic leadership if the Marketing Executive and Project Manager had taken all the decisions on their own not involving the team members ideas and thoughts. Then the outcome has not been achieved or the achieved result would not have been satisfactory and effective.

The team members at Ideo are from different backgrounds. There could be the possibility of disputes among the members, there could be the collision of the ideas and lead to failure of teamwork. We can observe and hear them not following hierarchical system. When there is no hierarchy followed, employees will get confuse to whom they shall report in the absence of the Project manager. They will consider all of them the boss, which leads to multiple orders and commands.

I believe criticisms lead to innovation. Until and unless someone does not criticize your work, you do not see the necessity of improving yourself. Similarly, in the case of Ideo they do not accept criticism that means they always believe whatever they do is right. This makes them rigid to their ideas and leads to dissatisfaction rather than innovation.

Here even at the end the managers were not satisfied with the results and had to collide each members output and make something of their own. We can see that the team lacks trust and confidence in what they do.

References

Banik, A. (2017, August 18). Linkedin. Retrieved from Interactive Leadership Management: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/interactive-leadership-management-anupam-banik