Is multitasking getting us anywhere?

multitasking is hurting your new product development processesChief Executive Magazine recently took leaders to task in an article that hits one of the problems of multitasking on the head. What message does multitasking send to those around us?

Multitasking, whether as an organization or individually kills focus and reduces productivity and innovation and among other areas the development of new products. The real underlying issue is that we delude ourselves into thinking that activity is what’s important when it’s results that really count. That and showing those around us that we’re interested in what they have to say at least as much as catching up on emails!

In Simplifying Innovation, I refer to the electronic distractions as DADS or Device Deficit Attention Syndrome. That’s when people don’t think there’s anything wrong with stopping in mid-conversation to pick up their mobile phone to see who was calling or texting them. The implicit message being that if it was someone more important, they might take the call. Even worse, during meetings they constantly check email on their laptops or phones, and even pause to send replies–the false economy of multitasking, like heroin to an activity junkie.

One simple solution is a box where these devices are surrendered and kept during meetings. I know, it might seem too much like a teacher taking away toys, but it achieves two important things:

  1. It eliminates the distraction.
  2. It makes the meeting leader aware that the meeting is taking people away from something else they’d just as soon be doing so they must work to keep the meeting focused, relevant, and productive.

Here’s another article on multitasking that you might find interesting

This article appears by permission of the author and was originally published on his Simplifying Innovation blog.

Dalton on Innovation

Mike Dalton is the author of Simplifying Innovation: Doubling speed to market and new product profits – with your existing resources

Author: Michael Dalton

Mike Dalton's Guided Innovation Group, works with companies that want more impact form new product innovation in less time. Clients credit Mike with helping them double new product profits and cut time to market by more than half. He's also the author of the book Simplifying Innovation: Doubling speed to market and new product profits - with your existing resources. You can download free sample chapters at Simplifying Innovation. Prior to starting the Guided Innovation Group, he had 24 years of experience growing new and existing businesses as a general management and business development executive for the industrial polymer division of the multi-billion dollar S.C. Johnson & Son family of companies. He holds an MBA in marketing & finance from the University of Chicago and a chemical engineering, gas, and energy technology degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology. You can learn more about getting more impact from your innovation by visiting Guided Innovation where they offer an array of reports and other free innovation resources.

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