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SEP 2017

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48 SEPTEMBER 2017 T h E l E ad ER Creativity by the numbers: planning high-performance workplaces for advanced analytics teams Creativity by the numbers: planning high-performance workplaces for advanced analytics teams by Robert T. Osgood, Jr. Introduction: Analytics as Innovation A considerable portion of my professional practice over the last 15 years has been devoted to studying 120 innovation teams in dozens of Fortune 1000 companies. A key aspect of the research has been the exploration, development and testing of what became known as the Innovation-Connectivity Performance Path, which is a model for exploring the interrelated ways that 16 elements of people, technology and place (P-T-P) can be employed to enhance team processes and enable innovation. Among several findings, the research clearly indicated that considerations related to people and the processes they engaged in (nine elements: mission, network, manner, leadership, structure, multi-tasking, interdependence, values, diversity) established the context for innovation success, while, within that context, technology (three elements: mobility, process and readiness) and place (four elements: location, workspace, support and paths) provided individuals and teams with the control and choice of how, when and where to work most effectively. Beginning in 2014, several colleagues and I built on that research, exploring the work processes of advanced analytics teams in 24 large companies in North America. Analytics is a method of gleaning intelligence from data and using it for evidence-based strategy, ongoing operations and real-time decision making that translates into business advantage. In the broadest terms, analytics teams sort through terabytes (thousands of gigabytes) to petabytes of data (sometimes even exabytes) to uncover ways to drive innovation – to do something new or different in the marketplace. Given their focus on innovation activities, analytics teams proved to be excellent case studies to apply the I-C Performance Path, which in previous research showed that innovation teams rated highly on all 16 elements of P-T-P demonstrated significantly higher levels of collaboration (by 15 to 25 percent), better project results (by 15 to 20 percent) and superior overall innovation performance (by 3 to 8 percent). Another reason to explore analytics is the exponential growth in their use across virtually all industries, from consumer products to pharmaceuticals, healthcare, finance and insurance (all of which are represented in our research). Applications range from top-of-funnel R&D and marketing, to operations, sales and customer service, effectively aligning all parts of an organization's value chain. In most organizations, analytics teams are integrated within core business processes rather than grouped as separate, standalone support departments like IT.

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