The title of Jim Meredith’s interesting article refers to ideas, concepts and technologies that are prematurely aborted, but might have real value in other contexts, times, combinations or applications if the right work opportunities presented them.
Meredith is concerned that if more people in the company were not made aware of these ghost innovations and technologies, the potential of their eventual application and productivity would be negated simply through an inability to efficiently and effectively communicate, and then connect the dots. He talks about how most organizations have employees with valuable skills and capabilities but are overlooked as these workers are pigeonholed in their usual day-to-day jobs. This can seriously hinder the growth of the company.
Meredith’s solution is that such people profiles, like ghost innovations, should be circulated throughout the organization to better match the right individuals with the right projects, achieve goals more efficiently, and gain competitive advantage through otherwise overlooked internal skills and talents.
Workspace design can positively contribute to this intention, and uncover consistently overlooked and latent value at appropriate times. Technology, for instance, can be pretty powerful at unearthing ghost innovations as it has proven to efficiently connect people. If organizations took care to design workspaces that supported employees’ awareness of others, it would increase the potential for them making connections with each other.
Meredith suggests redesigning the organization (gulp!) before redesigning the workspace. This is huge, as this concept requires the doing away of traditional ideas of work, organizational charts and individual job descriptions, and instead embracing teamwork and collaboration.