This Guest paper was submitted for publication and is Copyright B.M. Jackson (2005).
Published here September 2005.

Abstract | Introduction | Why Email Won't Work
Why Collaborative Technologies Haven't Worked | Technology Requirements
The New Team Heart Beat | Meeting Process Redesign | Creative Work Redesign and Prototyping
Changes, New Behaviors | Training | The Virtual Organization | Conclusion

Creative Work Redesign and Prototyping

Most teams engage in creative work at some point in their work, whether prototyping a new product to bring to market, or brainstorming ways in which to provide a service at a lower cost and increased service levels. While many creative sessions are done, and best done, face-to-face, one never knows when an idea will strike him/her - in the shower, mowing the lawn, riding a bike, or waiting for the daughter's soccer practice to finish. These ideas need to be captured and shared with the team in order for others to understand, build on them, and inspire completely new ideas.

At any time, a team member can post an idea in the digital group memory and include a description, diagrams, links to websites, and any other information that helps to convey the idea. A contributor may include a ranking of the idea to assist the team with the timing of its implementation. The lower the ranking (e.g. 1, 2, 3), the sooner the contributor believes it should be implemented. The higher the number (e.g. 50, 100, 500), the further out the idea will likely be implemented, in essence the idea is "banked".

Using judgment of the relative value of the idea at the time assists the team in managing all ideas and corresponding implementation schedule. Other members can read about the idea and even add to it. Or it may inspire completely new ideas that are also captured in the digital group memory. When the team reviews its current implementation schedule and begins "shopping" for new ideas, it reviews the "bank" and re-evaluates the ideas for its next round of implementation. The concept of banking ideas is shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3: Banking ideas
Figure 3: Banking ideas

The sequence of steps is as follows:

  1. Generate ideas/incorporate feedback. As team members have ideas about product features, they post them in the digital group memory. They may also associate a ranking with each idea to indicate where they see it relative to other ideas. Typically, ideas for product features come from all kinds of experiences, places, and times. They are best captured as they are thought of although it may be that the idea should not be implemented immediately. It is helpful if team members provide their impressions of where the ideas rank relative to all other ideas being pursued.
  2. Build on ideas. The team member who originated the idea as well as other team members may build on the idea by posting additional information about the idea or by posting completely new ideas.
  3. Discuss. Team members discuss the ideas in order to understand them, rather than to evaluate them. This discussion is best done either face-to-face or via audio-conference.
  4. Rank. Once the ideas are understood, the team ranks or re-ranks the list of "open" ideas.
  5. Select. Based on what the team feels it can manage in the next version of the prototype, they select the appropriate number of highest ranked ideas.
  6. Implement. Based on the selected ideas, the team implements the ideas into the next version of the prototype.
  7. Test. The team conducts a quality test of the functionality of the new features and changes the status of the idea to "complete" once it has passed the testing process.
  8. Customer feedback. The team has a group of customers evaluate the prototype and collect feedback.
Meeting Process Redesign  Meeting Process Redesign

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