LEED is not a process, but it exposes bad process.

The City of Ottawa has recently been considering dropping it’s requirement that all new buildings of a certain size be LEED certified.

The key reason for this decision given by Ottawa councilman David Churnushenko is that, based on his experience, LEED is costing $50,000 per building in documentation time. Even accounting for hyperbole, that is far too much.

However, it is also an indicator that the citizens of Ottawa are not getting the greenest buildings they could.

Sustainable and regenerative design and development come from relationships, creativity, and Integrative Process; not bureaucracy. LEED certification, it turns out, is an excellent way of measuring how effectively you are using your design and build teams. It is fairly safe to say that if they are treating LEED as just paperwork, just pushing paper and email is how your expensive staff and consultants are spending much of the rest of their time together too. If you are an owner (or city councilman) and your staff is moaning about how LEED documentation is costing you tens of thousands of dollars, you are wasting your money, whether you are seeking LEED certification or not.

This might be a perverse argument in favor of LEED, but it is a proven one.

iLiv has customers who are 30-50% more efficient (and if they are consultants, profitable) per LEED project. They are also delivering higher rated and higher performing buildings to their owners at no additional cost. They don’t see LEED as a burden, but as an invitation to discover and deliver a better and more valuable building.

Back in Ottawa, councilman Churnushenko is making one big false assumption: that by reducing LEED paperwork, his teams will become better green designers and builders. Nope. It takes new skills, like listening, being comfortable working outside of your area of expertise, teasing out and using ideas from anyone no matter what their status or specialty, sharing a vision, asking the hardest questions, trusting.

When all of those are in place, you get the best possible realization that the people, place, owner’s requirements, and environment can produce. And if you have proper processes and utilities in place, and integrate LEED from the beginning, your documentation burden should be trivial.

Teaming, Innovation, Amy Edmondson, and iLiv

Teaming is a term used to focus attention on the activities of people working together in teams. It’s different from the word teamwork, which merely distinguishes the type of work done by people in teams as opposed to solo work or work between principals and assistants.

I have come across the term recently like an old friend; indeed, through an old friend: Amy Edmondson worked with Buckminster Fuller in his final years, just as I did with John Cage, and I met her through my connection to Bucky, which sprung from my tensegrity sound source performances.

Turns out Amy has been researching for 20 years how teamwork is changing in and of itself, as well as how organizations are changing to be more teaming-oriented. She teaches these ideas at Harvard Business School, and she published a book on the subject in 2012.

Teaming: How Organizations Learn, Innovate, and Compete in the Knowledge Economy, Amy C. Edmondson, Edgar H. Schein, ISBN: 978-0-7879-7093-2

Teaming: How Organizations Learn, Innovate, and Compete in the Knowledge Economy

Here’s a brief exploration of how iLiv and Amy’s ideas relate:

Edmondson on Teaming iLiv
Teaming is an active process iLiv All-In is an integrative process collaboration and communication platform
Imagine a fluid network of interconnected individuals working in temporary teams Each All-In Project is organized as a set of events assigned to one or more roles; those who accept responsibility for a project role can come from any organization, discipline, or geographic region, and their active involvement can cover only a part of the project’s overall time span; each new project has its own set of team members, and the evolution of the team over time is easily accommodated.
Teaming blends relating to people, listening to other points of view, … This emphasis on relationships and listening is what our friend and partner Bill Reed is all about.
…coordinating actions, and making shared decisions. The All-In Time pod is built for event coordination, know-how sharing, and decision capturing.
The purpose of teaming is to expand knowledge and expertise so that organizations and their customers can capture the value. The value proposition of All-In is: for the owner, project success (ROI); for the domain expert, a better, self-improving process; and for all project participants, increased creativity and productivity.

And I found these complementary concepts in just the first few pages of Amy’s book!

As all iLiv fans know, our work in software development draws heavily on our past in the performing arts. In dance, music, and theatre, groups are often made up of individuals who have worked together for many years. But just as often, groups are formed for shorter periods (a run of a play) or even for brief encounters (a musical performance).

Teaming highlights—for more traditional organizations—the temporary aspect.

Conventional management often struggles with ephemeral organizational entities, based as it is on the assumption that the organization is supposed to be founded, grow, and reach maturity over many years and decades.

This pull towards perceived stability is a serious risk factor in the current economic environment. The best ideas, and the best products and services, are more often than not born these days of rapid, interdisciplinary, creative processes that bring together people from all over the know-who, know-what, and know-how map.

Teaming describes the dynamics of these one-off collections of individuals, and All-In caters to them with utilities that support their particular qualities and needs. Both can contribute to upper management’s following and understanding of these critical creative production units.

This is only our second post, but already it introduces a category we will expand upon rapidly: the iLiv Reading List. Check back often for more.

And read Teaming!