The title of my research is The need to balance Acquisition, Organic and Geographical Growth Sources: A sustainable growth strategy for Pinnacle Technology Holdings Limited. Pinnacle Technology Holdings Limite4d is a South African Company, focussed on the assembly and distribution of ICT hardware. It focusses on the channel, small to medium corporates and the public sector. Pinnacle Technology Holdings Limited was established in 1993 and listed on the JSE in 1997.
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The continually expanding product range spans the entire breadth of ICT hardware and related peripherals, including (but not limited to) high powered enterprise servers, switches and storage devices in addition to notebooks and personal computers. This range includes almost all of the top international tier -one brands , such as Hewlett Packard, Lenovo, Dell and IBM, as well as its own mainstay brand of Proline personal computers, notebooks and servers (Pinnacle Annual Report: 2010).
Pinnacle Africa has branches in Midrand, Bloemfontein, Nelspruit, Durban, Port Elizabeth, East London, and Cape Town. These branches are all in South Africa. Only three branches are outside of South Africa and these are Windhoek and Gaborone and Zambia.
I will focus on the research topic in this post module assignment.
Creativity is the generation of ideas that result in the improved efficiency or effectiveness of a system. The people are the resources that determine the solution. The process remains the same. The process is goal-oriented: it is designed to attain a solution to a problem. However, the approach used by people will vary (http:notendur.hi.is/joner/eaps/cq_cr04.htm).
Creativity comes from epiphany
An epiphany (manifestation, striking appearance”) is the sudden realisation or comprehension of the (larger) essence or meaning of something. The term is used in either a philosophical or literal sense to signify that the claimant has “found the last piece of the puzzle and now sees the whole picture,” or has new information or experience, often insignificant by itself, that illuminates a deeper or numinous foundational frame of reference. This concept is studied by psychologists and other scholars, particularly those attempting to study the process of innovation.
Although epiphanies are only a rare occurrence, following the process of significant labour, there is a common myth that epiphanies of sudden comprehension have also made possible leaps in technology and the sciences. Though famous individuals like Archimedes and Isaac Newton might have had epiphanies, they were almost certainly the end result of a long and intensive period of study those individuals have undertaken, not a sudden, out-of-the-blue, flash of inspiration on an issue they have not thought about previously (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epiphany).
Creativity comes from creative types
The fact is, nearly all the research in this field shows that anyone with normal intelligence is capable of doing some creative work. Creativity depends on a number of things: experience, including knowledge and technical skills; talent; an ability to think in new ways; and the capacity to push through uncreative dry spells. Intrinsic motivation – people who are turned on by their work often work creatively – is especially critical.
Money is a creative motivator
Research shows that people put far more value on a work environment where creativity is supported, valued, and recognised. People want the opportunity to deeply engage in their work and make real progress. It is therefore critical for managers to match people to projects not only on the basis of their experience but also in terms of where their interests lie. People are most creative when they care about their work and they are being stretched.
Time pressure fuels creativity
People are least creative when they are racing the clock. Actually, you may find that there are ‘after effects’ – when people are working under great pressure, their creativity is likely to go down not only on that day but the following day or two days also. Time pressure stifles creativity because people can’t deeply engage with the problem. Creativity requires an incubation period; people need time to soak in a problem and let the ideas bubble up. (http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/7736944)
“I am not creative”
The truth is we are all creative. And while some people are naturally more creative than others, we can all have very creative ideas. The problem is, as we grow older, most of us learn to inhibit our creativity for reasons relating to work, acceptable behaviour and just the notion of being a grown-up.
“That’s a stupid [or daft, or silly, or ridiculous] idea”
People say this kind of thing to colleagues, family and even to themselves. Indeed, this is one reason why people believe they are not creative: they have got into such a habit of censoring their creative ideas, by telling themselves that their idea s are stupid, that they no longer feel creative. Next time you have an idea you think is stupid, don’t censor it. Rather, ask yourself how you could improve the idea.
“Creative people always have great ideas”
Creative people always have ideas. Whether they like it or not they are having ideas and sharing those ideas (often with people who tell them their ideas are stupid, no less!) every waking hour of the day. Of those ideas, a precious few are great. Many are good, many are mediocre and a precious few are stupid ideas. Over time, we tend to forget creative people’s weak ideas and remember the great ideas.
“Constructive criticism will help my colleague improve her idea”
Criticism whether constructive or destructive (as most criticism truly is) squelches creative thinking and teaches your colleague to keep her ideas to herself. Likewise, other colleagues will see what happens when ideas are shared and will also learn to keep their ideas to themselves. Fresh ideas are fragile. They need nurturing, not kicking. Instead of criticising a colleague’s new idea, challenge her to improve the idea by asking her how she could get over the idea’s weakness.
“We need some new marketing ideas for the upcoming product launch. Let’s get the marketing people together and brainstorm ideas”
This is a sure recipe for coming up with the same kind of marketing ideas you have had in the past: i.e. uncreative. Brainstorming, as well as ideas campaigns and other group ideation events get the most creative results with the widest variety of participants. Want marketing ideas? Then bring in sales, accounting, human resources, financial, administrative, production, design, research, legal and other people into the brainstorming event. Such a wide range of knowledge, experience and backgrounds will encourage a wide range of ideas. And that results in more creative ideas.
“In order for our innovation strategy to be a success, we need a system of review processes for screening ideas and determining which ideas to implement”
In fact, the review process is very often about eroding creativity by removing risk from ideas. The most important component for corporate innovation is a method of soliciting and capturing focussed business ideas. The ideas campaign approach – where you challenge employees to submit ideas on specific business issues, such as “in what ways might we improve product X?” is the best way to focus innovation. A transparent tool that allows employees to submit, read and collaborate on ideas is the best way to focus creative thinking. And, framing your challenges effectively is arguably one of the most important aspects of successful corporate innovation. Yes, reviewing ideas is important. But first you need to be generating the creative ideas so that they may be reviewed.
“That’s a good idea. Let’s run with it”
When we are looking for ideas, we have a tendency to stop looking and start implementing with the first good idea that comes to mind. Unfortunately, that means that any great ideas you might have had, had you spent more time thinking, are lost. Moreover, good ideas can often be developed into significantly better ideas with a little creative thought. So, don’t think of a good idea as an end – rather think of it as a beginning of the second stage of creative thought.
“Drugs will help me be more creative”
The 1960s drug culture and glamour of musicians and artists getting high and being creative led to this myth. And, possibly a little bit of drugs or alcohol will loosen you inhibitions to the extent that you do not criticise your ideas as much as you might had your inhibitions not been loosened. A lot of drugs or alcohol, however, will alter your mind and may very likely make you believe you are being more creative. But to people watching you, you will just seem like someone who is very high.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”
Just the other day I was at a workshop where some people were complaining about a colleague who always had ideas. Worse, he wanted to use those ideas to change processes that were working perfectly well. Sadly, too many of us (but not you, of course) are like the complainers. If something works well as it is, whether it is a machine or a process, we often feel there is no need to change the way it works. Fortunately, Dr. Hans von Ohain and Sir Frank Whittle didn’t think like that – or we’d still be flying in propeller airplanes. Bear in mind that propeller airplanes were working perfectly fine when the two gentlemen in question individually invented the jet engine.
“I don’t need a notebook. I always remember my ideas”
Maybe. But I doubt it. When we are inspired by an idea, that idea is very often out of context with what we are doing. Perhaps a dream we had upon waking inspires us with the solution to a problem. But, then we wake up, get the children up, have breakfast, run through in our minds an important presentation we’ll be giving in the morning, panic that the kids will miss their bus, run for the train, flirt with an attractive young thing on the train etc. – until late afternoon when you finally have time to think about the problem. How likely are you really to remember the idea you had upon wakening? (http://innovationexcellence.com/blog/2010/11/26/10
2.15 Fear Forces Breakthroughs
There’s this widespread notion that fear and sadness somehow spur creativity. There’s even some psychological literature suggesting that the incidence of depression is higher in creative writers and artists – the de-pressed geniuses who are incredibly original in their thinking. But we don’t see it in the population that we studied.
We coded all 12,000 journal entries for the degree of fear, anxiety, sadness, anger, joy, and love that people were experiencing on a given day. And we found that creativity is positively associated with joy and love and negatively associated with anger, fear, and anxiety. The entries show that people are happiest when they come up with a creative idea, but they’re more likely to have a breath through if they were happy the day before. There’s a kind of virtuous cycle. When people are excited about their work, there’s a better chance that they’ll make a cognitive association that incubates overnight and shows up as a creative idea the next day. One day’s happiness often predicts the next day’s creativity.
Competition Beats Collaboration
There’s a widespread belief, particularly in the finance and high-tech industries, that internal competition fosters innovation. In our surveys, we found that creativity takes a hit when people in a work group compete instead of collaborate. The most creative teams are those that have the confidence to share and debate ideas. But when people compete for recognition, they stop sharing information. And that’s destructive because nobody in an organisation has all of the information required to put all the pieces of the puzzle together.
A Streamlined Organisation is a Creative Organisation
Maybe it’s only the public-relations departments that believe downsizing and restructuring actually foster creativity. Unfortunately, I’ve seen too many examples of this kind of spin. One of my favourite is a 1994 letter to shareholders from a major US software company: “A downsizing such as this one is always difficult for employees, but out of tough times can come strength, creativity, and teamwork.”
Of course, the opposite is true: Creativity suffers greatly during a downsizing. But it’s even worse than many of us realised. We studied a 6,000-person division in a global electronics company during the entire course of a 25% downsizing, which took an incredibly agonizing 18 months. Every single one of the stimulants to creativity in the work environment went down significantly. Anticipation of the downsizing was even worse than the downsizing itself – people’s fear of the unknown led them to basically disengage from the work. More troubling was the fact that even five months after the downsizing, creativity was still down significantly.
Unfortunately, downsizing will remain a fact of life, which means that leaders need to focus on things that get hit. Communication and collaboration decline significantly. So too does people’s sense of freedom and autonomy. Leaders will have to work hard and fast to stabilise the work environment so ideas can flourish.
Taken together, these operating principles for fostering creativity in the workplace might lead you to think that I’m advocating a soft management style. Not true. I’m pushing for a smart management style. My 30 years of research and these 12,0000 journal entries suggest that when people are doing work that they love and they’re allowed to deeply engage in it – and when the work itself is valued and recognised – then creativity will flourish. Even in tough times. (http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/89/creativity.html)
2.18 Other Myths
The following are other myths:
Being creative is a waste of time,
Creativity is not for adults or people with serious careers,
Creativity is the result of a lone innovator,
There is always a clear path to creativity,
Creativity always results in greatness.
2.19 Myths surrounding business creativity into Africa.
These are myths which have prevented many South African companies into expanding operations into Africa.
We do not understand Africa
This is a myth as Africa is easy to understand. Those who have ventured into Africa did so by researching exactly how to do business in Africa. Apart from the research there are many published articles on how to do business in Africa,
You may not get paid
There are many arrangements which can be made to ensure payments. Letters of credit confirmed by foreign banks being one.
Difficult to repatriate profits
There are investment guidelines dealing with all African countries. Some may be more difficult than others but this does not mean that all countries in Africa should be painted with the same brush. MTN is doing roaring business in Nigeria and there has been no problem in profit repatriation.
Myths of Nationalisation
Again, here there have been very few if any private companies which have been nationalised. The investment guidelines will prescribe certain criteria to be observed but this does not amount to nationalisation.
Myths of being killed kidnapped etc.
African countries are poor markets. This is also not true as we mentioned in the case of MTN. Again here it does not mean doing business with the entire continent of Africa, but only few selected countries.
There are four distinct roles to be performed for the creative process to be as effective as possible. Each one requires that you play different characters, with different mind-sets and skills.
The roles are: Explorer, Artist, Judge and Warrior.
Learn how they help unleash your creativity and how to master the skills each one requires.
Ideas do not come out of the blue. In order to build them you first need to gather the raw materials: facts, concepts, experiences, knowledge, feelings – that’s what ideas are made of. To get all of that, you need an attitude of on-going curiosity and exploration.
The Explorer is always in search of new things. He is relentlessly curious and never limits himself to a particular area of experience and knowledge. To have ideas is to connect dots. First and foremost you need lots of dots to connect – you need fuel for the formation of new ideas.
The Artist has ideas. He takes the raw materials from the Explorer and combines them in novel ways.
When people say someone’s “creative”, they’re usually referring to the Artist. The Artist has ideas mostly by trying new things. He applies his imagination by rearranging, turning things upside down, stirring things up. He pursues different approaches and finds unexpected connections. He’s playful; he doesn’t care about what people expect from him.
The Judge is all about “getting real”. His job is to analyse the Artist’s wild ideas and assess if they’re practical – in the real world.
The Judge questions assumptions; he compares and analyses. He checks how feasible ideas are. No matter how much the Artist loves an idea, the Judge looks for counterarguments, checks evidence, and makes hard decisions. Combining gut feeling and analytical tools, the Judge must only let through feasible ideas.
The Judge gets a bad reputation – but only because people usually invoke him too early. Killing an idea before the Artist can play with it is a pity; killing it later is oftentimes a necessity.
As soon as you have an idea ready to be executed you’ll realise the world isn’t set up to accommodate every new idea that comes along. The enemies can be external: competition may be fierce, or people maybe just don’t “get” your beautiful ideas. Even harder than those, there are more than enough enemies already within you: think resistance, excuses and fear of failure.
The Warrior’s job is to make ideas happen. For that, you’ll need not only a strategy and plan of action but to put in the hours – fight the daily fight.
That means remaining productive, developing the resilience and courage to overcome obstacles and, of course, being able to sell your ideas – whatever’s necessary to materialise them. (http://litemind.com/creativity-roles)
An archetype is an original model of a person, ideal example, or a prototype after which others are copied, patterned, or emulated; a symbol universally recognised by all. Archetypes put context to a situation. We use archetypes, for example, in marketing. We create brand archetypes to assign a personality to the brand.
The innovation Archetypes are:
Innovation Doer: These are the practitioners of innovationâ€¦people who innovate on a regular basis. The Innovation Doer is on the front lines and feels both accountable and motivated to come up with new and useful ideas. They approach situations with a natural inclination to change the status quo rather than preserve it.
Innovation Watcher: These are people with a strong interest or obsession with innovation created by other people. They are fascinated by novelty. They consume it, read about it, and report on it. They marvel at what others create but stop short of serious innovation themselves. They report useful insights about innovation and innovators. They add value by commenting on trends and milestones in the world of innovation. Entire websites such as Gizmodo and Engadget fit this archetype.
Innovation Preacher: These are the voices that inspire others of the need to innovate. They make the case for innovation and change. They relate innovation to our everyday lives as well as to the global economy. They create both hope and fearâ€¦hope in terms of what can be created through innovation, and fear from the consequences of not innovatingâ€¦from being “disrupted.”
Innovation Teacher: These are the people who teach methods and processes of innovation. They infect others with tools to create new ideas. Teachers are interventionalists. Their students become Doers (if they have taught them well). A number of university professors and innovation consultant fit this archetype.
Marketplace of ideas. In the marketplace archetype, employees are charged with creating new ideas, shopping them around to gain support and implementing them rapidly to test feasibility and market acceptance. It is an environment that is somewhat chaotic by design. Google, 3M, Best Buy typify this model.
Visionary leader. The visionary leader model revolves around a senior executive who understands the future better than customers, motivates employees to zealously pursue that vision and keeps generating ideas that are unexpected and profound. Steve Jobs of Apple is citied as the paragon. Other examples are Akio Morita of Sony and Henry Ford.
Systematic Innovation. These are firms that succeed through a mix of executive prioritization and team processes. Samsung, Proctor & Gamble and Goldman Sachs are cited as examples.
Collaborative Innovation. This archetype is more externally oriented, featuring companies that team with outside partners to evaluate a wide range of opportunities, rapidly select the ones to trial and often implement the ideas through these partners. Collaboration organisations gather “innovation intelligence” by building formal relationships with other firms that can help them not only shape the innovative concept but also actively implement the solution. For example, most movie studios are collaboration organisations, partnering with independent producers to generate ideas, with technology companies to create special effects, and with advertising agencies to promote new releases. Another recent example is social networking site Facebook. (http://innovate.typepad.com/innovation/2009/04/four-kinds-of-innovation-dna.html)
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Innovation through Rigor
An involved leadership oversees the development of many products and services by problem-solving, cross-functional teams who work systematically on internally generated ideas using formal vetting processes. Typical of large enterprises with diffuse product lines; often with a culture of “perpetual crisis.” Samsung’s large product catalogue is overseen by senior executive prioritisation and team processes that focus on the design aspect of innovation.
It is likely there are more innovation archetypes than these four. Other could be defined around some of the brand archetypes displayed in the model above. Certainly there are people who display multiple archetypes, perhaps all four.
In the corporate domain, we need all four archetypes. Those that preach create the mandate for change. They mobilise the leadership and staff to focus on innovation as a source of organic growth. The Doers and Teachers tend to put things into motion. Watchers are the “sense makers”. They are trend spotters. They have a unique perspective on external innovation to give useful context to internal innovation. A lot of corporate mergers and acquisition departments fall into this category. They are “hunters” of opportunity.
The Knowledge Economy
Introduction: The Knowledge Economy
The paradigm of the knowledge economy originally appeared as a consequence of new trends in the economy and of new categories of statistical data on economic activity (Machlup, 1962). In the mid-1990s, the concept evolved to refer to two presumed characteristics of the new economy: the increased relevance of abstract knowledge, both quantitatively and qualitatively, and the prevalence of applications of information and communication technologies as economic drivers (David and Foray, 1995). The OECD (1996) defines knowledge-based economies as “economies, which are directly based on the production, distribution and use of knowledge and information.” Thus, the knowledge economy is based on an efficient system of knowledge access and distribution, as a sine qua non condition for increasing the amount of innovative opportunities (Godin, 2003).
This increasing importance of knowledge is changing the way firms compete as well as the sources of competitive advantage between countries. For the leading countries in the world economy, the balance between knowledge and resources has shifted so much towards the former that knowledge has become one of the most important determinants of the standard of living (World Bank, 1998). Today’s most technologically advanced economies are knowledge-based in the sense that knowledge is increasingly considered to be a commodity (Boulding, 1996), that advances in ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies) have reduced the cost of many aspects of knowledge activity (Howells, 2000), and the degree of connectivity between knowledge agents has increased dramatically (Aridor et al., 2000).
Knowledge workers in today’s workforce are individuals who are valued for their ability to act and communicate with knowledge within a specific subject area. They will often advance the overall understanding of that subject through focused analysis, design and/or development. They use research skills to define problems and to identify alternatives. Fuelled by their expertise and insight, they work to solve those problems, in an effort to influence company decisions, priorities and strategies. With differentiates knowledge work from other forms of work is its primary task of “non-routine” problem solving that requires a combination of convergent, divergent, and creative thinking (Reinhart et al., 2011). Also, despite the amount of research and literature on knowledge work there is yet to be succinct definition of the term (Pyöriä, 2005).
Knowledge Worker Roles
Knowledge workers bring benefits to organisations in a variety of important ways. These include:
Analysing data to establish relationships
Assessing input in order to evaluate complex or conflicting priorities
Identifying and understanding trends
Understanding cause and effect
Ability to brainstorm, thinking broadly (divergent thinking)
Producing a new capability
Creating or modifying a strategy
These knowledge worker contributions are in contrast with activities that they would typically not be asked to perform, including:
Simple prioritisation of work
There is a set of transitional tasks includes roles that are seemingly routine, but that require deep technology, product, or customer knowledge to fulfil the function. These include:
Providing technical or customer support
Handling unique customer issues
Addressing open-ended inquiries
Generally, if the knowledge can be retained, knowledge worker contributions will serve to expand the knowledge assets of a company. While it can be difficult to measure, this increases the overall value of its intellectual capital. In cases where the knowledge assets have commercial or monetary value, companies may create patents around their assets, at which point the material becomes restricted intellectual property. In these knowledge-intensive situations, knowledge workers play a direct, vital role in increasing the financial value of a company. They can do this by finding solutions on how they can find new ways to make profits this can also be related with market and research. Davenport, (2005) says that even if knowledge workers are not a majority of all workers, they do have the most influence on their economies. He adds that companies with a high volume of knowledge workers are the most successful and fastest growing in leading economies including the United States.
Reinhart et al.’s (2011) review of current literature shows that the roles of knowledge workers across the workforce are incredibly diverse. In two empirical studies conducted by Reinhardt et al. (2011) they have “proposed a new way of classifying the roles of knowledge workers and the knowledge actions they perform during their daily work” (Reinhardt et al., p. 150). The typology of knowledge worker roles suggested by Reinhardt et al. are “controller, helper, learner, linker, networker, organiser, retriever, sharer, solver, and tracker (2011, p. 160).
Typology of knowledge worker roles
Typical knowledge actions (expected)
Existence of the role in literature
People who monitor the organisational performance based on raw information.
Analyse, dissemination, information organisation, monitoring.
(Moore and Rugullies, 2005)(Geisler, 2007)
People who transfers information to teach others, once they passed a problem.
Authoring, analyse, dissemination, feedback, information search, learning, and networking.
(Davenport and Prusak, 1998)
People use information and practices to improve skills and competence.
Acquisition, analyse, expert search, information search, learning, service search.
People who associate and mash up information from different sources to generate new information.
Analyse, dissemination, information search, information organisation, and networking.
(Davenport and Prusak, 1998)(Nonaka and Takeushi, 1995)(Geisler, 2007)
People who create personal or project related connections with people involved in the same kind of work, to share information and support each other.
Analyse, dissemination, expert search, monitoring, networking, service search.
(davenport and Prusak, 1998)(Nonaka and Takeushi, 1995)(Geisler, 2007)
People who are involved in personal or organisational planning of activities, e.g. to-do lists and scheduling.
Analyse, information organisation, monitoring, and networking.
(Moore and Rugullies, 2005)
People who search and collect information on a given topic.
Acquisition, analyse, expert search, information search, information organisation, monitoring.
(Snyder-Halpern et al., 2001)
People who disseminate information in a community.
Authoring, co-authoring, dissemination, networking.
(Davenport and Prusak, 1998)(Brown et al., 2002)(Geisler, 2007)
People who find or provide a way to deal with a problem.
Acquisition, analyse, dissemination, information search, learning, service search.
(Davenport and Prusak, 1998)(Nonaka and Takeushi, 1995)(Moore and Rugullies, 2005)
People who monitor and react on personal and organisational actions that may become problems.
Analyse, information search, monitoring, and networking.
(Moore and Rugullies, 2005)
Note: From “Knowledge Worker Roles and Actions – Results of Two Empirical Studies,” by W. Reinhardt, B. Schmidt, P. Sloep, and H. Drachsler, 2011, Knowledge and Process Management, 18.3, p. 160. Copyright by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Reprinted with pe
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