THE ENVIRONMENT OF MODERN CONTROL CENTRES FOR CREATIVITY AND LEARNING

The environment of modern control centres is well-suited for creativity and learning. For most of the time, the available computer power has an enormous surplus capac­ity available for other types of application. By default, computer capacity contains surplus dimensions to cover peak loads, for example, system breakdowns or major errors. Apart from being held ‘in reserve’ to cover such occurrences, this overcapac­ity can be used for simulations of different types of process applications or pos­sible scenarios of breakdown and errors. For example, simulations could be used for operator training in which the operators practice for future possible scenarios. Simu­lations could relate to updates of new equipment and systems, including computer systems for process control. However, the control centre operators should also be able to use the available computer capacity for development of the existing produc­tion system and also the computer control system, including the related peripherals. Management should emphasise creating a good and motivating high-ceiling envi­ronment to facilitate high creativity in this type of development work. Figure 11.3 shows the Raelin model with our addition of the high-ceiling tolerance to encourage learning and creativity.

THE ENVIRONMENT OF MODERN CONTROL CENTRES FOR CREATIVITY AND LEARNING

FIGURE 11.3 Adding tolerance as the third dimension for learning. (Developed from Rae – lin, 1997, p. 565. With permission.)

Added to the model are two possible ceiling heights. In an environment of low tolerance (designated in Figure 11.3 as -1), organisational environments are such that employees are not encouraged to think outside the box (and often, not even to think for themselves). In these types of environments employees become automatons who follow set patterns of work based on extant practices and top-down instructions. New knowledge emanates from the top down, and often remains the preserve of senior managers. Employees are routinely starved of the knowledge they need to fulfil their job tasks. Conversely, in an environment of high tolerance (designated in Figure 11.3 as +1), organisational environments are such that employees are given freedom of thought and action. These types of environments are characterised by employees proposing new solutions to workplace problems. New knowledge is gen­erated from the bottom-up and shared between people who can benefit from that knowledge. New knowledge, in the form of solutions to business problems, is often acted upon by the employees themselves.