Team development for innovation

February 17, 2021
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If one of your team's goals is to increase creative thinking and innovative ways of working, here are four ways to focus on innovation from a team development point of view.

If one of your team development goals is to increase creative thinking and innovative ways of working, you'll be encouraged to hear that innovation is very much a team exercise - the myth of the lone creative genius is just that, a myth.

As author of Mapping Innovation Greg Satell writes in the Harvard Business Review: "Truly breakthrough innovations are not a single event, nor are they achieved by one person, or even within a single organization. Rather, they are when ideas combine to solve important problems."

Satell recommends four ways to focus on innovation from a team development point of view:

  • Hire for mission: look for people interested in the problems you need to solve.
  • Promote psychological safety: a safe, trusting environment where team members feel comfortable and confident enough to take risks and show vulnerability without feeling insecure or embarrassed.
  • Create diversity: studies have shown that diverse teams are smarter, more creative, and examine facts more thoroughly.
  • Value teamwork: great teams work hard at being a team.

These themes echo past team building workshops we've run with clients - a great team is not just a group of great individuals: how a team works together is actually more important than who’s on the team. And innovation is a key part of that: high performing teams bring together individuals to collaborate on common issues, helping each other view problems from a different perspective.

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