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Signpost 04

Adversities are worth keeping, even introduced, in the workplace to promote innovation.

Signpost 04

Key Chapters: 6 and 35

• 4.1 During the terror and bloodshed that prevailed in Italy for the 50 years the Borgias ruled, there emerged Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and The Renaissance. Switzerland, on the other hand, had 500 years of democracy, peace, and brotherly love and has given us the cuckoo clock. p.21

• 4.2 Nietzsche warned of the risks of aspiring to a society which seeks comfort and routine as this could breed an apathetic person who is tired of life, takes no risk, and has no dreams. p.22

• 4.3 Despite the potential of adversity to promote innovation, we (rightly so) tend to avoid adversity regardless of any benefits it might deliver. Finding practical ways to benefit from adversity in the workplace is difficult. p.22

• 4.4. Architecture has a gene of optimism and utopia in it, we use architecture to ‘show the better’, which makes it difficult to use architecture, or design as a whole, to promote adversity. p.127

• 4.5 Adversity finds its way in organisations through intangible and tangible environments. In intangible environments adversity travels through the organisation’s culture and is managed using strategies such as humour and resilience. In tangible environments adversity is manifested through the physical environment (e.g. temperature and illumination) and is managed using ‘good design’. p.128

• 4.6 The extent to which discomfort is reduced in the workplace is taken as an indicator of the quality of the design. Achieving a frictionless workplace is perceived as the pinnacle of a great employee experience. p.129

• 4.7 ‘Hostile design’ is a branch of design that uses adversity and discomfort to restrict behaviour and exclude a specific group of people, not to innovate. Adversity should not be used to alienate or exclude anyone in any environment. p.129

• 4.8 Employees with less resources become more resourceful, and their ingenuity could lead to innovation. p.130

• 4.9 An organisation with too many constraints can become too inflexible, on the other hand an organisation with too many resources can lead to inefficiencies that can fast-track their failure. An organisation with just the right amount of slack is better positioned to innovate. p.130

• 4.10 We are usually at adaptation level with respect to our environment and we filter out cognition of our physical surrounding. But by purposefully altering our environment we could reignite the adaptation process. The architecture we remember is that which never consoles or comfort us. p.130

• 4.11 Strenuous exercise and physical challenges create ‘adversity on tap’, one which can be controlled in its intensity, opted in, and opted out, even bragged about. We could learn from these events to find ways to successfully adopt adversity in the workplace. p. 131

• 4.12 Even if adversities are eliminated, people will still find adversity where they didn’t use to. We get pickier as things get better. If we can’t get rid of (the perception of) adversity, we might as well use it to our advantage. p.132

• 4.13 Working in tangible and intangible environments which increase in just the right amount the challenge that the environment asks from the person might lead to the innovation you seek. p.133

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