Group Genius Specifications
"'The right art,' cried the Master, 'is purposeless,
aimless! The more obstinately you try to learn how to shoot the arrow
for the sake of hitting the goal, the less you will succeed in the one
and the further the other will recede. What stands in your way is that
you have a much too willful will. You think that what you do not do
yourself does not happen.' . . .
'It is all so simple. You can learn from an ordinary
bamboo leaf what ought to happen. It bends lower and lower under the
weight of snow. Suddenly the snow slips to the ground without the leaf
having stirred. Stay like that at the point of highest tension until
the shot falls from you. So, indeed, it is: when the tension is fulfilled,
the shot must fall, it must fall from the archer like snow from a bamboo
leaf, before he even thinks it.'"
- Eugen Herrigel, "Zen in the Art of Archery," 1953
The requirements placed upon an individual, an event, or a facility such as
a NavCenter environment are neither wholly objective nor subjective, but
rather a combination of each in context of the particular person, place, or
activity. Just as the Group Genius process embodies both art and science,
so to does the process by which MG Taylor bestows the Award.
To create a shared understanding of what constitutes a Group Genius event or
process, we have identified several components that will inform our opinion
of any particular knowledge worker, environment or activity. These have been
categorized by Processes, Tools,
and Environments, though all interrelate and overlap
in many ways. By putting this framework into the context of a particular event,
the use of a facility, or the capabilities of an individual, one can gather
a good sense of the presence of a Group Genius process.
The foundation upon which the MG Taylor® Way of Working rests is the Transition
Manager's Creed, the rules of Infinite
Games, and the highest standard of fiduciary
responsiblity. Any individual, team, or organization that earns the Group
Genius Award has demonstrated the performance of their work with a clear understanding
of these principles.
Premise: The core of the MG Taylor method is a systematic, repeatable
facilitation of the creative process. This method offers the ability to help
organizations and groups consistently find and deliver more fit, wholistic
solutions than would otherwise be possible. Once the solution is defined by
the participants, our processes weave elements together creating an action
plan that enables emergence, robustness, and feedback to help sustain and
shape ongoing fitness of the solutions.
Question: How has this been demonstrated by the knowledge worker,
event krew, or facility in question?
Premise: The 7 Domains exist in
every workplace and organization. Their components are familiar to everyone.
When these domains are valued and managed as an integrated system, an environment
is created in which the natural creativity of individuals and groups blossoms.
Question: How were the Domains used to understand, critique, evaluate
and manage the design process?
Premise: Co-design and collaboration are essential to the Group Genius
Questions: By what means did the design and facilitation involve
the insights and vantage points of client sponsors and krew members? What
feedback loops were in place to allow for real-time course corrections?
Premise: Knowledge always resides within a context and in action.
Real-time knowledge management and the creation of knowledge
ecologies enable participants and krew to discover what would otherwise
be obscured, to see patterns in what would otherwise be noise, to make connections
among seemingly disparate ideas, and to surround themselves in ideas and insights
in a way that enhances their experience and ripens the environment for innovation.
Questions: How was the information and knowledge managed? Was the
10-Step Knowledge Management model employed?
Was a healthy knowledge ecology created?
Premise: At least seven distinct types of intelligence have been identified
(see the work of Howard
Gardner). These intelligences learn in different ways and respond to different
stimuli. The MG Taylor Process consciously employees multiple facilitation
techniques such as the 5 E's of Education
modelin order to 'speak to' these intelligences.
Questions: By what means were each of these intelligences facilitated?
Were participants able to "work big," actively working over each
other and surrounding themselves in their ideas physically, visually and
Premise: "Real artists ship," Steve Jobs has been credited
with declaring. Indeed, it correlates to the MG Taylor Axiom,
"The only valid test of an idea, concept or theory is what it enables
you to do," as well as the Scan Focus Act
model. This applies not just to the participants of a event or process,
but also to the krew.
Questions: Did participants finish the event in action? Was a clear
path of action identified and coordinated? Did the facilitation continue
not just until the conclusion of the event but through the process of designing,
building and shipping the deliverables? Was the shipping done real-time
assuring that the documentation remained fresh and vital to the client?
Premise: MG Taylor has built a visual modeling
language consisting of diagrams annotated with labels and glyphs and supported
by accompanying text. The models collectively form a loose grammar and lexicon
for people to help enterprises figure out where they are, what's happening
and why, and what possible paths may be taken. The models may also be used
as templates and design tools for creating collaborative processes. Although
the models can be studied and applied individually, their full power is only
unleashed when considered in an interconnected and collective manner. Modeling
language speakers must develop an easy familiarity with the language for it
to be of most value. Just like learning a foreign language, at some point
they lay aside the dictionaries, grammar books and begin to think in the new
language and use the language itself as a vehicle for learning more of it.
Questions: How was the modeling language applied to the design process?
How were the models integrated into the process to help participants and
krew understand underlying organizational dynamics and situations? What
was learned about the models themselves by the act of using them?
Premise: Technology is a powerful tool that can either leverage and
augment human capability or hamper and intimidate the user. MG Taylor believes
that technological tools such as computers, audio/video equipment, and software
applications enhance the abilities for real-time knowledge management, time
compression, and collaborative design.
Questions: What technology was used to facilitate these aspects
of the process? Did it accomplish the desired ends? Was the sophistication
of the technology such that it could be learned and used quickly by the
average knowledge worker, or was specialized expertise required?
Premise: Tools are not necessarily "high-tech." A pencil,
notepad, hypertile, song, table, and
model airplane are all tools. At the right time, in the right context, each
can be as powerful and facilitative as web browser or digital camera.
Questions: What role did tools such as these play in the process?
Was the toolkit broad and diverse enough to positively impact multiple learning
styles and intelligences?
Premise: The ability to "work big" is a tremendous facilitator
of collaborative design and Group Genius processes. The visual space represented
by the WorkWall™ systems, for example,
permits individuals, teams, and entire organizations to set goals, to create
visions, and to plot and track courses for getting thereor more precisely,
getting here from there. Visions reside,
not in the minds of a few individuals, but in the open, on the walls, for
all to see and recreate for themselves.
Questions: How was the environment outfitted to encourage working
big? How was work displayed? Were participants actively engaged physically,
as well as intellectually, in their activities?
Premise: Adjustability is likewise essential to accommodate the needs
of the work that needs doing at any given time. Only those doing the work
can really know what sort of environment will best facilitate their work at
any particular moment during the day. When the participants need to work alone,
the space can be configured for individual work in moments. When they need
to work as a large group, they reconfigure the space for large-group work
in minutes. Whether the group be at the Vision stage of the
Creative Process or in Engineering, the environment should mold around
the type and modality of the work being performed.
Questions: How did the environment evolve over the course of the
process? Did environmental considerations play a vital role in the design
of the event? How well did the environment perform in "making easy"
the work of the participants?
Premise: MG Taylor's approach to work environments represents a synthesis
of architecture, business and humanism. A work environment is not a factory,
and workers are not automatons. A sterile, uniform and sleek environment does
not promote productivity. Efficiency, structure and uniformity are the traits
of machines. Humanity, on the other hand, excels at creation. Environments
should facilitate this creative spirit. A pleasant atmosphere, varied with
soft colors, interesting textures, pleasing woods and abundant plants, is
an environment that encourages people to enter and to stay. A work environment
that allows people to relax and feel comfortable is one in which creativity
Questions: Describe the pattern
language of the space. How did the environment evoke individual and
group creativity? How were colors, lights, sounds, and smells used?
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