“Do not disturb: loners do the best work”

This was a recent headline in the Irish Sunday Times reviewing the latest research suggesting that teamwork stifles creativity. This is one of many headlines I have been drawn to since my MBA journey began 5 months ago.

As I read the article it reminded me of the creative geniuses the world has produced and how their creations impacted upon society. Some of these individuals did not have University to educate them, which related to one of my recent readings for Organisation Behaviour and Decision Making Class:  “The learning organisation: Foucauldian gloom or Utopian sunshine”. During the pre-lecture discussion with some of my classmates, I stated my point that we were all like chickens being force fed case studies from Harvard. I had been wondering had any of the Lecturers ever had a student challenge the norm and bring some new insight into these cases. My thought continued to when we (MBA students) go back into the world of work will we be just applying the latest research into innovation and creativity, by bringing people into groups and hoping their creative juices flow? The Times stated that unless there are strong characters, people in groups often give into peer pressure, or sit back and let others do all the work. This is something we touched on last semester in Business and Society and we know how powerful groupthink can become.

By the way this is a blog about the UCD Smurfit MBA Charity Club but in many ways the introduction is the way the Charity Club has been operating, getting the best of both worlds in groupthink and individualism. A few weeks after the MBA started numerous groups began to bloom like daffodils in spring time, due to my interest in volunteering I decided to join the Charity Club. After the meeting with last year’s representative Fiona, Stephen and I realised that much hard work was ahead of us to get and keep people motivated and involved. Stephen came up with a great idea for cancer awareness in the first semester, so we decided to brainstorm and get the ball rolling. This ended up with the first Health Awareness Day in UCD Smurfit which we tied in with the Smurfit Society and Movember and it was a roaring success.

Since the energy levels have risen after the Christmas break, our policy of individuals coming up with their own idea, bringing them to the rest of the Club, and developing them into manageable events has continued. Presently we are organising an information lecture for business students in Belfield, fund raising for Autism Ireland, developing an idea with City Wise, helping Arc Support with marketing ideas, organising a Tarot Card fund raising event and organising a fundraising event in the Dublin Mountains for the mountain rescue association. It is very encouraging that not only are the individuals bringing these ideas to the club but that the majority of the class are also contributing.

Maybe loners do the best work but hopefully the latest research also has a place for groups as well. People are all different and the way they operate in groups varies but inevitably everyone has something useful to contribute. The MBA continues to expand my thinking and the Charity club continues to grow as a direct result of all those case studies and readings!

– Garrett Dorrian, FT MBA 2012