Don’t focus on business when starting new company

Over the weekend I watched few presentation about workplace, creativity and motivation. I did some research into mentioned topics before, resulting in number of blog posts. Few hours ago idea started to form in my head. What if the new startup or new business or new company is started with something else in mind, not the product, not the service not the next best Apple-like company that will change the world?

What if the main aim of starting a company would be to gather some smart people and create the best possible workplace environment for them?

Let me explain where I’m coming from.

Creativity, innovation

Creativity and innovation goes along the same path. Creativity is a process of bringing something into existence. Innovation is an improvement of something, creation of a better thing, thus involving creativity.

There are three ingredients into creative soup: expertise, creative thinking skills and motivation. Expertise comes from years of knowledge gathering. It exists in our heads. Creative thinking skills are things like approach, flexibility and imagination when solving a problem. It defines how we attack the problem and arrive at the solution. Behind the wheel of creativity seats the motivation. It is the motivation that makes us work countless hours and carry on until we blast with loud “Eureka”.

A person defines both of the things, knowledge and creative thinking skills. However, motivation is something that is mostly influenced by workplace.

Motivation

There are two types of motivation, intrinsic and extrinsic. Extrinsic motivation is simply award (money) or a threat (kick out). Unless your company hires employees for physical work, intrinsic motivation is the one you should optimize for. 

Intrinsically motivated person will wonder around the maze of solutions, having a lot of fun along the way, learning from mistakes and successes only to arrive on more novel and interesting idea.

To be intrinsically motivated, one needs to:

  • Feel challenged
  • See the goal
  • Feel enough freedom and trust
  • Get enough resources
  • Diversity of colleagues
  • Be encouraged
  • And supported by organisation

I will not go into more details about it as you can read more in one of my previous articles on motivation.

If I would…

If I’ll be starting a company today, I would like to have very smart people working for me. I would like them to be creative and innovative. To empower Creativity and Innovation I would need to provide appropriate motivation. It doesn’t matter what I will focus on, what industry, service or a product. If I want to become a hit I need to be creative and innovative. For my new business to be successful I need to focus on the ways I motivate people. I need to build a workplace environment that will foster creativity and will keep my employees with me.

Why not focus on those things when starting new company? The best workplace for creativity junkies. Make business objectives a secondary target. I know that sounds crazy, who in a right mind would start a company for the sake of a great workplace, not thinking too much of a business up front?

The truth is, that as a side effect of successful creation of the best workplace on earth, I’ll get creative people motivated to do their work in the best possible way. I’ll get an army of productive and innovative employees.

For sure it would be good to know at least where the business is heading as a goal is important part of a motivation. Have an idea of what industry it will be focusing on. It will attract the right kind of talented and skilled people.

The best place to work

How to create the best workplace on earth? How to foster creativity and motivate people? I got ideas in my head. I leave it to your imagination dear reader. Good starting point is the knowledge on what helps both of them.

There are companies out there that started small, hired a lot of creative people, and provided very motivated workplace. Then, they got successful and got bigger. Changed the culture in the company. As a result there is no more motivation in them and creativity turned into competition. That doesn’t mean that only small companies could harvest the creativity fields. It means that someone lost the plot along the way.

 Perhaps what I’m writing about is a good idea or perhaps I’m just writing rubbish. If I get a chance to start a company in the future, I know what I’ll be focusing on.

I’ll build a company that I want to work for.

Greg

Links to articles on creativity, innovation and motivation:

Unit testing Grails controllers with duplicate form submission check functionality

I’ve been doing some Grail 2.0.1 development recently. I like the maturity of framework and the ease of doing things.

One of the things Grails comes with is a simple way of avoiding duplicate form submission. Have a look at the code bellow:

def myControllerMethod(){
  withForm{
    render “theGoodStuff”
  } .invalidToken {
    render “theBadStuff”
  }
}

That’s the controller bit. In your view you need to enable use of that feature by passing useToken parameter to form tag:

<g:form action=”myControllerMethod” useToken=”true”></g:form>

It looks very simple and elegant. However when we would like to test the controller we need to make sure we match the token when calling the method.

Documentation on testing Grails application and this particular functionality contains the way of doing so, however I found it not working with Grails 2.0.1.  Not much was blogged about it so I looked through the mailing lists. I found one trail and a bug report for this issue.

Anyway, to make it work, the piece of documentation from Grails, version 1.4.x explains how to do it, and it works.

In controller test method we need to place this code:

…
def token = SynchronizerTokensHolder.store(session)
params[SynchronizerTokensHolder.TOKEN_URI] = '/myController/myControllerMethod’
params[SynchronizerTokensHolder.TOKEN_KEY] = token.generateToken(params[SynchronizerTokensHolder.TOKEN_URI])

controller.myControllerMethod()
…

Happy testing. Greg

Useful links:

http://grails.1312388.n4.nabble.com/grails-2-0-testing-controller-with-withForm-invalid-notation-td4316150.html
http://jira.grails.org/browse/GRAILS-8504
http://grails.org/doc/1.4.x/guide/9.%20Testing.html
http://grails.org