. . . Long Live The Think Tank.
From our colleague, Michael Tanji. Enjoy.
By Steve Schippert on February 27, 2008 at 7:11 PM | Permalink
Haft of The Spear: The Think Tank is Dead, Long Live the Think Tank (PDF)
This is absolutely one of the topics "closest to my heart" and top-of-my-mind. As I've described to you all, my company is a brain-trust of seven key people, all with one goal, yet each having clearly different skill sets. Its not dissimilar to the Think Tank 2.0 described in Michael's paper. However, it is a challenging management situation.
First comment is that to many uninitiated people, the word "virtual" does mean "not real." I've opted to describe my own organization as "remotely managed and geographically dispersed." The difference may seem trivial (and in fact they mean the same thing), but in practice it helps me in explaining how I'm able to manage a complex project with no one physically in the same place (with me). My chief engineer is almost 2000 miles from me, as is my management team.
There are a couple of very important elements that help make it work.
- strong visionary leadership
- common goals
- limited egos
- strong skills
We certainly don't have the time to write the paper just yet, but at some point in the future, my associates and I see what we're doing as new and evolutionary management process.
One of the things that is being described in Michael's paper is what I've referred to as a "power shift" that results from the use of the Internet (and cell phones) to permit remote contributions to a collaborative effort. The result is that things become very dynamic. Decisions are made efficiently, communications become more crisp, and the mutuality of the effort is recognized.
The power of the group effort over actions of one person is clear. Is it better than a Think Tank 1.0? I'm not so sure that "better" is the right term, or that the two won't coexist. It is different for sure. My humble opinion is that the concept should work. Then again, I'm looking at this from a parallel universe of doing something very similar in the business side of the world. I'm also excited about the prospects that it holds for CTA.