What is a porous organization? A porous organization actively collaborates with customers and partners by creating and supporting a flow of ideas and insights into and from the enterprise to create new value streams. My good friend, Joe Batista, the Chief Creatologist, articulates the concept to underscore that every organization can grow its capabilities and enrich its ecosystem through sharing and capturing value across varied arenas. A porous organization enriches its internal value system and stimulates growth with an open, collaborative, and adaptive culture and boundaries.
Strategies for Fostering a Porous Organization
How can your leadership team increase the organization’s willingness to share ideas, assets, and value with customers and partners?
Employ any of these six strategies to move toward creating an organization with more porous boundaries:
1) Focus Your Designs on Design Thinking
If your organization lags in design thinking (or doesn’t even engage internal or external designers), involve outside design talent ASAP. Bring these collaborators in for fresh ideas on new, dynamic features for your culture and market offerings. This advances a creative and experimental mindset, which is essential for any porous organization. External design expertise will break down barriers and stimulate innovative ideas from diverse fields.
2) Create Educational Partnerships
Partner with universities and other advanced education institutions to offer internships and co-op programs. These will produce unconventional thinking and perspectives. The strategy both supports talent acquisition and establishes an ongoing connection to the latest academic trends and research. These intellectual property bridges between academic knowledge and industry practices make organizational boundaries more permeable and increase innovation’s vibrancy.
3) Adopt a Youth Movement
Bring young people (whether employees’ children or from schools, organizations, or youth clubs) to inject new vigor and unfiltered perspectives into your organization. Young minds readily challenge conventional norms and offer unique insights. Engaging younger generations opens avenues to stay attuned with emerging trends and societal shifts.
4) Sponsor a Leadership Mashup
Create a leadership exchange program: your executives and those of your customers and partners participate in meaningful multi-day visits to each other’s organizations. This will facilitate cross-pollinating strategic approaches, ideas, and leadership styles. Understanding diverse industry dynamics expands leaders’ horizons and promotes a culture of learning and adaptability.
5) Facilitate Cross-industry Exposure
A shadowing program sets the stage for team members to exchange roles with professionals from different fields for a limited period. These focused visits provide direct exposure to varied industry mindsets and practices. They also expand employee understanding and outlooks, breaking down industry-focused mindsets and promoting an open exchange of ideas.
6) Convene the Industry for Something Unique
Every industry has big issues that no single organization seems ready or able to tackle. Sponsor an industry forum that brings together problems solvers from many different audiences to collaborate and address the industry’s biggest challenges. This type of platform offers shared learning and innovation opportunities, plus stimulates industry-wide openness and collaboration. The entire industry can benefit from a collective pool of knowledge and expertise. (And, yes, we know that the attorneys will convulse at this idea; tell them it’s already scheduled, and they need to figure out how to make it work.)
Fostering a Porous Organizational Culture
Cultivating porous organizational boundaries is not a one-time event. It represents a significant shift in perspectives and practices for most organizations.
If you and your leadership team are open to the possibilities and recognize the incredible impact of this shift, Brainzooming would love to partner with you. We can collaborate to devise a smart strategy to make your organization more porous.
With our expertise in exploration, collaboration, ideation, event design, and strategic assessments, we can accelerate your advances toward greater innovation. Let’s connect and explore ways to redefine your organizational boundaries, fostering an environment where ideas flow seamlessly, and innovation thrives.