Monday, February 20, 2012

Collaboration or cubicle?

Collaboration is in; cubicles are out. But, should they be?
“Most inventors and engineers I’ve met are like me ... they live in their heads. They’re almost like artists. In fact, the very best of them are artists. And artists work best alone .... I’m going to give you some advice that might be hard to take. That advice is: Work alone... Not on a committee. Not on a team.”

Well! what to think of Mr Wozniak? Could it be that natural introverts--Mr Wozniak readily admits this of himself--need some separation? Yes! It's well known by the Meyer-Briggs crowd that extroverts are charged up by the energy of other people.

But introverts are exhausted by that same energy, and need solitude to charge.

So, I'm all for collaboration, and team areas for common work. But the ISTJ's, INTJ's, and other I's need time away.

So it's somewhat shocking to learn  that brainstorming of all things can be counterproductive, and so also--gasp!--team work. Is this project management heresy? Who among us has not participated in some team work training, and had it demonstrated to us that the team always does better than the individual?  But, what about this?

The “evidence from science suggests that business people must be insane to use brainstorming groups,” wrote the organizational psychologist Adrian Furnham. “If you have talented and motivated people, they should be encouraged to work alone when creativity or efficiency is the highest priority.”
Good grief! Back to the drawing board and the open space plan. Perhaps I'll put in that order for cubes after all! And, maybe I'll take another look at virtual teams. Maybe there's something there I've been missing. And that eccentric SME loaner is not looking too bad either!

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