How Workplace Social Connections Increase Innovation

For many years, we have been trying to understand why some work groups are more innovative than others even though they sit in the same departmental and corporate infrastructures as one another. Understanding why some are more innovative is the key to unlocking the larger problem of increasing overall company innovativeness. The information in this article points to the underlying role of social capital in the working group as the key to increasing innovation capability.

Overall, a workplace’s chance of success in creating innovation at a departmental level depends on 4 points:

  1. The ability of employees within the work group to effectively share knowledge with one another, which is dependent on knowing who knows what within the group and developing a high level of trust between group members.
  2. The ability of the team to get access to key knowledge from outside the members of the work group, providing the team with new thinking and novel information and stopping the group from being stuck in its own way of thinking.
  3. Access to tangible resources increases the effectiveness of access to knowledge by providing the group the financial, equipment, and physical resources necessary to further develop new ideas.
  4. A set of social-capital-enhancing HR practices to increase the social capital and social context of the work teams that are more consistently innovative – these practices create both the skill and the will in employees in the work group to develop and foster social capital.

Final Thoughts

While most managers may think it is a given, one key difference between work units that are more innovative and those that are less innovative, is the depth to which employees within the work unit understand who knows what and the willingness of the employees to share their individual knowledge with one another. Often employees are unwilling to share their experiences with other members of the work group if they feel that their knowledge is a source of personal power. They may also feel that their personal performance and pay are tied to what they know as an individual, or they may be concerned that others in the group won’t share information back with them.

Differences in how the group has been selected, socialized, paid, and managed can lead to wide differences in their trust and understanding of the other employees in the work group. By developing a system of effective HR practices, the benefits associated with feelings of familiarity and collectiveness among employees within a work unit can be enhanced— a key step in increasing innovation in a company.

The 8 Qualities of a Great Mentor

Mentorship is a partnership in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person. The mentor can be older or younger, but should have a certain area of expertise. It is a learning and development relationship between and someone who wants to learn and someone with vast experience. The person in receipt of mentorship may be referred to as a protégé, protégée, apprentice, or in recent years, a mentee.

Mentoring is a course of action that always involves communication and is relationship based. Simply put, a mentor is an experienced professional in your field who offers you career guidance, advice and assistance from a real world point-of-view.

Mentors or business coaches are one of the most important resources an entrepreneur can tap into. The idea of launching a business should be a collaborative experience. It is essential to use the knowledge of entrepreneurs who have already built successful businesses, and can help you avoid known pitfalls based on their years of experience.

The best thing about mentors and business coaches is that they come in all shapes and sizes. This person should be able to handle the many problems that you may be encountering. That means that you need to look for the mentors who are experts on your specific industry, your specific business size, or your specific business problem.

Mentorship offers a host of amazing benefits in addition to those listed above. A proper mentor is wise and willing to share his or her knowledge and experiences in order to help you succeed.

It’s kind of like having a trusted friend nearby whenever you’re feeling unsure or confused about a professional issue. They can assist you in setting and achieving career goals, making smart business decisions and overcoming workplace challenges. The benefits go on and on.

A good mentor will have the following 8 qualities:

  1. Values the opinions and initiatives of others.
    A mentor who values others is also someone who works well in a team environment and is willing to share his/her success. A good mentor appreciates the effort of the mentee and empowers him/her through positive reinforcement.
  2. Willingness to share skills, knowledge, and expertise.
    A good mentor is willing to teach what he/she knows and accept the mentee where they currently are in their professional development. Good mentors can remember what it was like just starting out in the field.
  3. Exhibits enthusiasm in the field.
    A mentor who does not exhibit enthusiasm about his/her job will ultimately not make a good mentor. Enthusiasm is catching and new employees want to feel as if their job has meaning and the potential to create a good life.
  4. Values ongoing learning and growth in the field.
    Mentors are in a position to illustrate how the field is growing and changing and that even after many years there are still new things to learn. Knowledge and skills. They enjoy taking workshops and attending professional conferences.
  5. Provides guidance and constructive feedback.
    One of the key responsibilities of a good mentor is to provide guidance and constructive feedback to their mentee. This is where the mentee will most likely grow the most by identifying their current strengths and weaknesses.
  6. Demonstrates a positive attitude and acts as a positive role model.
    A good mentor exhibits the personal attributes it takes to be successful in the field. By showing the mentee what it takes to be productive and successful, they are demonstrating the specific behaviors and actions required to succeed.
  7. Takes a personal interest in the mentoring relationship.
    Good mentors do not take their responsibility as a mentor lightly. They feel invested in the success of the mentee. Usually this requires someone who is knowledgeable, and possesses the attributes of a good teacher or trainer.
  8. Respected by colleagues and employees in all levels of the organization.
    Ideally mentees look up to their mentors and can see themselves filling the mentor’s role in the future. Mentees want to follow someone who is well respected by colleagues and whose contribution in the field is appreciated.

Are you interested in becoming a Mentor or Mentee? What about these roles appeals to you the most? We look forward to reading your comments.

EOCC Inc’s January Business Mixer

EOCC Inc. is proud to announce that our next business mixer event will be held at Latitude 53 Art Gallery, on January 21, at 6 p.m. The topics for the evening will be Big Impressions and Teaming for Success.

Founded in 1973 by a group of local artists, Latitude 53 is a not-for-profit artist-run centre, and is considered by many to be Alberta’s leading contemporary art gallery. They have recently moved their operations to a new and improved building, which makes them the perfect location for our upcoming networking event.

There will several notable attendees at this month’s mixer, including those listed below:

  • Kenneth L. Cantor – Honorary Member, Alberta Association of Architects and Vice President, Commercial Development of Northern Alberta.
  • Vicki Walker – President and Founder, Empor Consulting.
  • Robert Nisbet – Vice President, CIBC and Franchise Owner, Panago.

For those of you who attended last month, we give huge thanks for helping to make the event such an epic success, and we look forward to seeing you again this time. If this will be your first occasion joining us then perhaps a little more information would be helpful.

When you come to an EOCC Inc. event, you’ll quickly see that it’s all about sharing ideas and instilling passion in others. Professional development isn’t just a one-time thing; it should be an ongoing part of your career. Make it a priority to assess and improve your skill set, and you’ll increase your value to your organization and enhance your future career prospects.

Who Should Attend?

Business owners, managers, decision-makers, buyers, salespeople, professionals, business students, not-for-profits, and entrepreneurs of all backgrounds should attend the event.

The Benefits of Attending:

  • Increase your business contacts within local organizations.
  • Describe your products and services to potential new clients.
  • Maximize the impact of your advertising dollars.
  • Project a positive image of your company to the business community.
  • Gain knowledge by connecting with like-minded individuals.

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There will be hors d’oeuvres, refreshments, and an opportunity to connect with the under 40 local business community in a modern, upscale and classy environment. This is the perfect chance to get noticed by your peers, and make new contacts that are creative, successful and focused on business.

For details on admission, directions to the event, or contact information, you can download a digital version of our flyer for the mixer at the EOCC Inc. Website.

Have you attended an EOCC Inc. event in the past? Please tell us a little about your experience. We look forward to reading your comments.

Tips for Planning a Fantastic Event

Almost any type of event is going to take planning and preparation, but with the right help and a little hard work, even a first-timer can put on a very successful affair.

First of all, there are a few questions that should be considered: What is the vision and purpose behind the event? What are some ways that you can accomplish your goal? When is the best time to hold this event? How many people do you want to have attend? Where can you accommodate the number of people at the time you want to hold the event? How much money will the event cost? How much money is available, and from where will it come?

These are all questions that can be addressed one step at a time, so that an effective and successful event can be planned. Consider these steps to give you a framework to help plan your event:

  1. Come up with an idea, vision, or set of goals for the event.
  2. Determine what is necessary to implement the vision and create a budget.
  3. Make the reservations for the proper facilities to put on the event.
  4. Identify possible sources of funding and begin to allocate money.
  5. Reserve the proper resources, equipment, and personnel.
  6. Publicize the event.
  7. Host the event.
  8. Follow-up from the event. 

During the event, make sure that you provide excellent customer service and properly showcase your amenities. Also, remember to have enough staff working to give each customer stellar service. Be available to assist the guests, but make sure that the atmosphere is not high-pressure or intrusive.

Determining the best day and time is also crucial to success. Consider the schedule of your target audience and select a day and time that will be convenient for them. For example, lunchtime is a popular time for professionals, while weekday mornings may work better for parents with young children.

After the event, you will want to gather contact information and follow up. One of the keys to turning a large event turnout into increased business is to keep in touch with people afterwards. You can add them to your newsletter, send them a social media invite, or call them to personally. Just be sure to know the difference between spamming and communicating. Finally, don’t forget to track the number of attendees who turned into customers in order to measure the success of the event.

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