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 I’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.