Irving Wladasky-Berger: Endeavor, not Enterprise

Via Innovative Insider, this thought from Irving Wladasky-Berger: what do we mean by enterprise, employer and employee?

Wladasky-Berger is Vice President for Technical Strategy and Innovation at IBM and a regular blogger. He comments on IBM's second Global Innovation Outlook, which concludes that innovation is:

1. Global. 2. Multidisciplinary and 3. Collaborative and Open.

Last year's outlook found that individuals are the source of creativity, but the current outlook goes a bit further and suggests, a la Richard Florida, that their interaction is key. If so, "endeavor, not enterprise" is a nice way of putting the matter. Commenting on a recent event, Wladasky-Berger adds:

There was a consensus that the classic hierarchical organizations of the Industrial Age will just not work in this new environment, and that universities need to adjust their curricula to better prepare students for the 21st century workplace. Really fascinating was a discussion of the world of multi-player, online games and the clues it provides to the kinds of skills and training tools one will need in dynamic virtual work environments

Couple of thoughts: multi-player gaming, as Edward Castronova has discovered, is an effective way to model these kind of collaboration environments, to problem solve and to build team work.

Secondly, I really do like Endeavor, not Enterprise. "Endeavor" because the urge to realize a shared goal is, as Wladasky-Berger suggests, a timeless organizing principle. The burn is internal. And people are freer than at any time in history to connect in common cause. "Enterprise" because in an age of effortless communication, lines of report, or hierarchies, can and often do separate work from reward.