All of us come to work wanting to make a difference. In the agency world this is more acute, as our waking hours are consumed with other people’s challenges and opportunities. We really want to make a difference, not just hang around the corporate water cooler (we don’t have one). After many years of consulting to organisations who all desire to innovate and evolve, we have collected our thoughts on what makes this process more or less successful.
Out of this reflection emerged a theory, one we are calling The Generous Organisation. It is underpinned by our experience as creative-minded people trying to shift organisations to move forward, to do the right thing, to be brave and to make a difference to people’s lives.
In short, we are in the change business.
We realised that there were some corporate conditions that made the success of change or innovation more or less likely. Confidence, self-awareness, listening ability – all personal attributes that, we believe, the organisations of the future will need in order to succeed. Those organisations that displayed these characteristics we are calling ‘The Generous Organisation’.
Why now? Well here we are no different from the vast majority of viewers reading this article. It’s the Internet stupid. It has transformed, and continues to transform, how we interact with each other and organisations and places enormous potential power in the hands of the consumer – the people. One-way communications are dead (please tell the advertising agencies for BA and EasyJet) and in a networked economy the traits that make an organisation more or less ‘generous’ are the ones that will be important. The ability and the will to ‘dare to give’.
There is much supporting material for the above view from ‘fremium’ models, to affinity marketing, (see the low bar of affinity of www.kickstarter.com) to brilliant customer service (democratic decision-making), the value of reputation and the culture needed for continuous innovation.
At www.thegenerousorg.com we are aiming to develop an index of corporate generosity that demonstrates the business case for generous behaviours. We will be drawing on people’s comments and input from the website as well as voxpops and our voting section, where people can vote on who they think is most ’generous’ in a monthly changing sector poll. The website and its content is a work in progress, an ever-evolving journey that we are just getting started on…