Queen's University IRC

Brenda Barker Scott

Preparing for the Future with Scenarios

Preparing for the Future with Scenarios

Our lives, personal and professional, have been disrupted in a way that many of us may have never imagined. As schools and businesses close, people find themselves isolated from colleagues, friends and family, and sometimes facing this challenge alone. Everything that we took for granted seems to be upside down and inside out. And there is no definitive end in sight.

A Model for the New World of Work

Is Your Workplace in Motion?

Do you encourage collaboration between departments? Are you ready for a changing demographic in your workforce? Do you know how technology will change your organization in the future? This past spring, Queen’s IRC hosted a summit to explore our workplaces in motion. We invited people to come together to reflect, share and re-imagine how their workplaces could become more transparent, integrated and inspiring. Through an old world – new world lens, we explored how four inter-related trends, are shaping the new employee, the new work, and the new workplace.

Get ahead of the shift with the 2015 Queen's IRC Workplace in Motion Summit

Old World vs. New World: Where Does Your Organization Live?

Do you encourage collaboration between departments? Are you ready for a changing demographic in your workforce? Do you know how technology will change your organization in the future? The world of work is shifting. Centralized systems and hierarchies are giving way to more fluid environments.  With innovation, not efficiency, as the aim, success comes from harnessing and connecting talent and knowledge through technology.  

Designing for Collaboration in Organizations

Designing for Collaboration

Collaboration is emerging as a core organizational competence, and indeed an imperative, in today’s interconnected work context.  Despite the need, collaborative results often fall short of the intended ideals.  What if, instead of attempting to overcome elements of inertia, we shift our efforts to designing holistic systems that enable collaboration?  Below, I argue that collaboration is a design challenge.  To enable more fruitful collaboration in our organizations, we need to design for it.

Developing Organizations - A Metaphorical View

Developing Organizations – A Metaphorical View

Can organizations be designed to grow people? With the emphasis on talent and knowledge management in today’s uber-competitive business context, the assumption certainly seems to be yes. The reality, however, is that many organizations fail to develop or tap the competence of their people. Referring to the problem of pervasive disengagement amongst today’s workforce, Gary Hamel (2012) laments that organizational systems are more likely to “frustrate extraordinary accomplishment than to foster it” (p. 137).

Exploring Teamwork in Fast-Paced, Dynamic Environments

Building Teams: Exploring Teamwork in Fast-Paced, Dynamic Environments

Teamwork is the way we work in organizations. In our highly dynamic work environments, people are challenged to collaborate, almost daily, in service of efficiency, quality and innovation goals. Often, these challenges require coworkers from different units and with diverse skills, to quickly group and flexibly regroup as projects unfold. Unfortunately, most organizations are not designed for fluid, cross-boundary collaboration. To the contrary, the legacy of the formal hierarchy, with tightly defined job boundaries, serves to thwart, rather than promote teamwork across boundaries.
 

Brenda Barker Scott, Queen's IRC Facilitator

Decision Making and the Limits of Rationality

Decision making is a central activity in organizational life. Independent of one's role or profession, the ability to make effective decisions is a core competence that must be practiced daily. Despite its importance, evidence suggests that we're not particularly skilled at making decisions, especially the complex, strategic ones.
 

From the Inside Out

Designing Organizations: From the Inside Out

It's a familiar story. While organizational design is not new – for centuries leaders have experimented with the best way to structure their kingdoms, armies, churches, factories, and governments – our track record has been less than stellar. Intuitively, we know that organizational design must enable employees to be more innovative, service oriented, connected, and efficient.

Teaming for Today's Complex Challenges

Teaming for Today’s Complex Challenges

While teams have traditionally focused on their own insular work and processes, today's teams must take a whole-systems perspective and engage system players in the learning journey. Accordingly, they are more focused on getting a holistic understanding of the challenge, securing required resources and expertise, and defining the process members will follow.

Brenda Barker Scott, Queen's IRC Facilitator

Enabling Fruitful Learning in Organizations

Take this challenge. Ask fellow employees if they have ample opportunity to learn and apply what they learn at work. Chances are their answers will be varied, with many answering with a sometimes or it depends. This is a conundrum. One does not have to look far to find support for the notion that learning in organizations is a critical capability.

Organizational Learning: A Literature Review

While a comprehensive model for organizational learning (OL) remains elusory, the wide web of scholarly conversation and debate has spurred rich insight into the central questions of how and what people learn in organizational settings. This paper is aimed at exploring some of those debates, with a view to identifying a complementary set of factors …

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Exploring the Roots of Large-Group Change Techniques

With organizations and their environments in a state of constant flux, organizational development scholars have been challenged to create and practice methodologies that enable fast, yet comprehensive change. In answer to the call, a wide range of large-group change techniques has emerged to promote whole-systems adaptability. While the technologies differ in their focus and approach, …

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Organization Development Primer: A Review of Large Group Interventions

Large group interventions are designed to help people collaborate effectively by thinking and acting from a whole-systems perspective. “Whole systems” refers to the way an organization operates internally through its processes and externally through its relations to customers and other stakeholders. There are a number of core values underpinning all whole-systems change methodologies.

Taking Change Personally

To lay the groundwork for true and effective participation among stakeholders, change agents must create an environment that enables high quality conversations and learning interactions and that engenders strong positive emotions.

Energizing Organizational Readiness

At its core, facilitating organizational change is about energizing the right people to design and execute smart strategies. As sociologist Philip Selznik says: “Strategies take on value only as committed people infuse them with energy.” Simply put, all organizational change is envisioned and enacted by committed, engaged, and at times, adventurous people. While energized people …

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