Organizing on Passion

IMGP2839 It's been a while ago since I read the great Shift Index 2009 report. I've been wanting to blog about it, but haven't had time yet. It's loaded with interesting insights. One big question I had is: This report is focused on the USA; how does this compare to Europe or Asia?

One thing from the report that stuck with me, was the importance of 'creative talent' and getting them to engage in 'creative problem solving, often by connecting with peers inside and outside the firm' (p. 11). On page 70 the report goes on to talk about 'worker passion'. The findings are pretty saddening. Lots of workers are not passionate about their work and self-employed workers are much more passionate than the firm-employed. The larger the size of the firm the less passionate workers get...

I went back to the Shift Index after reading a couple of things:

  1. Steve Denning's post about the H in HR, which also points to the Shift Index and the importance of engaged workers delighting clients and stakeholders in self-organizing teams.
  2. IBM's Capitalizing on Complexity study (to which ReadWriteWeb also recently referred) which stresses (cultivating) creativity is/will be key to thrive in a complex (business) world of the future.
  3. Gartner's post about '10 Changes During the Next 10 Years'. Pointing to businesses working in work swarms. These are like teams, but have more emerging properties. They assemble and disassemble when needed. They are based on the spontaneity of workers

Maybe this is the difference millenials will make in the future, as prof. Andrew McAfee and Luis Suarez (a.o.) were debating.

All this got me thinking. As I commented on Denning's post: If this is so important, what would happen if we organized a company (even a large company!) on passion? Of course start-ups work in this way, if they're doing things well. So all workers could bail-out of their current projects, set up new ones, work on stuff (not) related to the company's mission statement, etc. What would happen? Would this work or will the un-interesting work (whatever that may be) be left undone? Or will this just lead to chaos?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic! And I'd also be interested to hear of companies that are organized based on the passions of their employees.

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