By Peter Bacevice
Organizations value flexibility.  Flexible work patterns and workspaces give companies the room they need to innovate and grow.  But what if there was more to the concept of flexibility than what we take at face value?

A recent article in the California Management Review presented an interesting perspective on the range of organizational flexibility:

  • Resilient and robust organizations recover smoothly from downturns and disruptions while growing stronger and reinventing new opportunities.  This is innovation as reacting.  For example, many university libraries are divesting books and reinventing themselves as knowledge navigation hubs with innovative new services.
  • Agile and versatile companies create a sense of urgency, move quickly with dexterity, redefine the playing field, and imagine new possibilities.  This is innovation as enacting.  Look to any social media company to understand this phenomenon in action.

What does this mean for today’s high performance workplaces? In today’s rapidly fluctuating business climate a resilient workplace is characterized by the cohesiveness and trust that allows it to adapt to change.  DEGW recently worked with a health care non-profit that has a very cohesive culture, and we helped create a workplace strategy that preserves that identity as it continues to grow.

Likewise, our work with a major consumer goods company embodies the qualities of a fast paced workplace structured for versatility that allows the sparks to fly while structuring the workflow to enable chance encounters among divergent perspectives in order to encourage imagination.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to the flexible workplace, or to innovation.  Instead, we enable workplace to reflect the strengths of a company’s culture that allow it to continuously adapt and flourish.