• Flexibility vs. Structure

    Education

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    The school I work for suffers from what is considered a common illness that affects small organizations: Informality. After six years of working as it’s CEO, in 2007 I finally understood that in oder to achieve our goal of becoming the most innovative design school in latin america by 2010, we needed more than my crazy ideas, first had to create a culture that revolved around it, so everyone could contribute and commit to the same goals. So we created our first Team Based Strategic Plan for 2010. It was both painful and beautiful. Seven projects where born out of that effort. Finally we all had the same idea of who we wanted to be and how we should go about it.

    Recently I had a strategy review meeting. We realized that we have come so far. We have achieved most of what we committed ourselves to do, it has been painful, it hasn’t been disciplined, we still lack SMART indicators, so we can clearly know if they are successful, we still need to create a culture of accountability, and meet deadlines; but we have created so much value in such a little time. Usually we rant about our inability to be disciplined and structured, we realize that as time goes by we are better organized, but we still fail to deliver on time.

    After this meeting I was reflecting and soon I realized that what we have is a treasure. It is difficult to work with a team of designers and creative individuals, but it is definitely more difficult to innovate with a team of overly structured traditional corporate stiffs. So we need to find the right balance, we need to get structured in a way that we can still be agile and innovative, we need to be structured for change, not structured to keep. We need to keep our ability to adapt and change fast in a structured manner, is that possible? I bet it is!

  • I am a graphic designer and most of my career I've been working for big, structured corporations. While I learned the culture of being organized and delivering on time, I felt, every time, that I sacrificed creativity. I never had enough time/motivation to challenge my own work further.

    I believe though, there can be a balance if the environment is the correct one.

    I'd like to know the name of the most innovative design school in Latin America to be! Please send info.

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