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Multifunctional teams generate talent and innovation

Multifunctional teams generate talent and innovation, were topics of the 5th meeting of International Postgraduate Institute from the UOC (Open University of Catalonia) was held in Barcelona on October 2ond. Their topic was:

Talent: Engine of growth.


Several speakers shared their different views on the talent, individual and collective talent, from their different fields and also professional sectors in which they operate. The result was a very interesting session with round tables showing, once again, the potential of multifunctional teams. Although they were not really pre-formed teams, they showed, without prior preparation, opinions and concepts, sometimes divergent, sometimes complementary, about talent, creativity and innovation. At no time they were repetitive or contradictory, but on the contrary, interesting and synergistic.

It began with a presentation by Dr. Brenda Gourley, ex-rector of the Open University and honorary doctorate from the UOC.


She was introduced by Imma Tubella as Rector of the UOC. Her initial contribution was about strategies that promote the talent at the University, entitled “Strategies that foster talent in college.” With a hundred people, 50% from the business world, Gourley developed several formulas that, from her experience, considers that serve to ensure talent poles institutions, passing, among other things, to create “talent galaxies” and not “focus on a star”. “We should focus on attracting talented people and take them to the heart” but giving them, among other things, autonomy and flexibility to work.

He confirmed that “Talent is the engine of growth” Then the session structured into two panels and about these, I would like to summarise the following: The tables were formed with relevant people from different fields who expressed their views on the concept of talent in areas such as musical, scientific, philosophical, technological, and creative advertising. And how this talent can generate values and methods usable in the business environment.

To Pere Joan Cardona, head of the Experimental Tuberculosis Unit of the Institute Germans Trias i Pujol (IGTP), passion and commitment are important. Life is very long, and gives a lot of chances and we can act in many situations, do many different things. Never give up, even if it means going from failure to failure, must be excited with what we have had.

To Xesco Espar, former Spanish player and handball coach, motivator, inspiring i author of “Jugant amb el cor” creativity comes best when there is structure and automation generated by habit and training. In his opinion, talent equals capacity multiplied by action. It is a product, not a sum. The action can range from 0 to 1.5 is to say that the action 0 overrides any ability or potential. The commitment would continue to show the talent or ability and action, even when it’s not fun or new, when it’s routine. Fear of success is tantamount to failure. Trainers also have the fear of being overwhelmed or do not control the process …

Anna Mercadé responsible for “Observatory de la dona” from Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, the repetitive practice builds confidence and self-esteem to improve. Companies ejected talent, female talent … and males one. There is much to do, too many friends, family or similar relationships involved. Galaxies and environments are critical.

According to Antonio Pacheco, creative director of McCann World Group, we must encourage the talent, care for and pamper. He verified that small teams give better creative results. You must build environments. Ability is based on action and commitment.

To Ignasi Terraza, jazz pianist with an international impact, in his experience, rhythm and creativity is the basis. Improvisation is supported by the continuous rhythm. The tempo, solo work and support alternative look at the result of the whole rather than the individual. The synchrony is important. The collective talent is the synergy that can occur, and when it occurs gives more than the sum of individual talents, arises from different views and experiences.

On talent as an engine of growth also said Joan Tugores, Doctor of Economic Sciences and professor at the UB. According to him, one of the main problems of the Catalan economy is how little attention has been paid to date in characterizing “Mittelstand” models like German and which is mainly concentrated in the small and medium enterprise: a “raw material” that ” not fail but neither will win a Nobel Prize “and you need to channel the talent of this mass social” into new growth models”

Jordi Alberich, CEO of Circle Economy highlighted the need to change the design of the business model and investing undervalued conception we have of the training provided in Catalonia.

An approach on which Esther Casademont disagreed; she’s psychologist and director of Hunivers, firm of international head-hunters. She feels that, in the last 20 years “companies have changed a lot” and traditional universities “very little” and believes that “there are still many bridges to build between the world of education and training“. In this unique event, different forms of talent and some of its core values were demonstrated. In my opinion, those are perfectly transferable to the Business World. I think interesting conclusions can be drawn for companies and organizations that want to innovate: The first is that talent, as recognized in the title of the day, is an “engine of growth”. So talent, individually and collectively, is critical to innovation.

  • The creative talent and knowledge resides in the persons, but in this case it synergizes in teams. You can synergize when moving individual to collective talent.
  • The creation of talent and it’s care is a process, part of the innovation process.
  • Companies and organizations destroy or expel the talent. Causes should be studied and corrected. I would like to point out just some:
  • The business cultural model based on hierarchical structures and / or bureaucratic, from the beginning of the division of labour and functional organizations.
  • There are environments that crush new ideas. In this context innovation (and talent) is really hard, just something casual, fruit of the exception. (Steven Johnson, The Good Ideas).
  • Fear of risk. This fear is fuelled by compensation and promotion systems in companies. The mistake is punished and the best way not to make mistakes is taking no risks.
  • Low process-oriented and little project oriented organizations.
  • Lack of multidisciplinary work, development of multifunctional teams.
  • Lack of simulation and prototyping, systemic lack of systemic games.
  • Lack of support for the development of talent in the education system, both in the primary and the university. Fear of child “different”. Fear of trainers.
  • Obviously, creativity and talent emerge better with a structured base to support the process. The repetitive practice that builds confidence, training and creating habits, multiply the creative process, in this case of talent. The “capacity for action”.
  • The knowledge and talents, require of enabling environments. Know how to create these environments is important and is one of the processes that is a barrier in companies and organizations. Environments should promote “open” and “multiple interactions”, both internal and external. With time for the “out of the routine” and to exchange proposals and ideas. Thus we speak of “clusters” and “galaxies”.
  • Talent and knowledge comes together with diversity and with the paradoxes and dialectical opposite. “In the heart of the innovative company is the ability to embrace opposites, grow them and use them as an invitation to find something better.” (Takeuchi and Nonaka. “Hitotsubashi on Knowledge Management”
  • As in music, rhythm is very important. Functions as continuity in the generation of ideas and projects. It has to do with the structural basis of a process that becomes repetitive habit. But at the same time generates “soloists” that introduce new concepts.
  • The synchrony in team working and support for it generates bulding team talent from individual one. We can understand the importance of looking at the result of the whole rather than the individual.
  • The talent to innovate and create new companies born of the necessary change in the country’s business model. A separate model, free from speculation, corruption and cronyism. More focused on the outside and finding and cover or generate new demands, more than compete on price. If we have to, with new models and imaginative ways from efficiency and competence.
  • Clearly “gateways” between academia and business are essential. And they must be designed from better targeted paradigms and models compatible with today world.

Finally, in my opinion, go into a new context to support and use the talents productively, to improve the economy and society, requires two things: A stronger culture of change. A large collective learning that change is life, no life without change, and therefore a collective loss of fear of change and a great learning in how to manage it. Individually and collectively. And second, the pragmatic measure. Know how to use an intelligent and coherent measures and indicators system, able to help us to reach the objectives. Francesc Güell October 2012


Francesc Guell is the owner of this site. He was CEO and director of international companies in specialty chemicals and pharmaceuticals. The last 12 years was associated with international consulting groups, providing advice and support to businesses on topics such as innovation and agile innovation processes, operational excellence, knowledge management, change management, strategy and integrated business management. Currently creates and presents courses and workshops on these topics. He graduated as a chemical engineer, postgraduate from ESADE Business School in Business Administration and Master in Knowledge Management. He participated in numerous programs, seminars and ESADE, IESE, EADA, APD and MCE (Management Centre Europe). He is author of articles, presentations and courses on innovation in strategic management, integrated business models, knowledge management, performance measurement, change management and excellence in business processes. See more in: Professional Profile