Category Archives: team creativity

Diversity: A Driver of Innovation

Innovation-through-diverse-workgroups-pan_7055Take a look at the people around you at work. What do you notice? Well, we all differ from one another. But appearances aren't the only way we differ, it's the unique views and backgrounds that we bring that can help you boost your creativity at work. Diversity is a driver of creativity. When you invite a group of colleagues to an ideation session, it's important that you have diversity in your team. And you want diversity in these three ways. First, you want functional diversity.

Next, you want gender diversity. And finally, cultural diversity. When you invite people to a team ideation session, try to get people from at least these three departments. First, you need commercial marketing people. The marketers are the ones that it can help you figure out if an idea has commercial potential. They'll filter out any idea that won't make it into the marketplace. You also need technical people. They're the ones that understand how your products and services work.

And they're going to help you identify those ideas that just aren't viable. They may be great ideas but technically they can't be made. And finally, you need people who are customer centric. These are the people that deal with your customers every day. People like your sales people or people in your call center. They're the ones that advocate for your customers, and they're the ones that, that will help you identify those ideas that will resonate the most with them. Taken together, these three perspectives help you answer the questions, will our customers want it? Can we make it? And how do we commercialize it? You also want gender diversity on your team.

Research suggests that men tend to generate ideas that are more risky, while women tend to create ideas that are more practical. When they work together, these biases tend to average out and you end up with ideas that are both interesting and practical. You also want to make sure your team has good cultural diversity. People with different backgrounds will help you create ideas that are applicable in many different global regions. Without cultural diversity, you end up creating ideas that are perhaps only appropriate for a certain region of the world.

Diversity is a driver of creativity. Diverse teams see new possibilities, they hold each other accountable to bring their best thinking. And it helps you boost your creativity at work.

Innovation Training and More From LinkedIn

LinkedinLearn innovation, group creativity, and much more at Lynda.com, a division of LinkedIn. Check out these courses with a 10 day free trial:

1. Business Innovation Fundamentals: Innovation propels companies forward. It's an unlimited source of new growth and can give businesses a distinct competitive advantage. Learn how to innovate at your own business using Systematic Inventive Thinking, a method based on five techniques that allow you to innovate on demand. Topics include:

  •     What is innovation?
  •     Understanding the myths about creativity and barriers to innovation
  •     Understanding the characteristics of innovative products and services
  •     Using the five techniques of Systematic Inventive Thinking
  •     Creating new services and processes at work
  •     Running innovation workshops
  •     Involving customers in innovation
  •     Mastering innovative thinking

2. Understanding Consumer Behavior: Consumer behavior is all about the way people buy and use products and services. Understanding consumer behavior can help you be more effective at marketing, design, product development, and every other initiative that impacts your customers. You'll learn how consumer behaviors such as motivation, appetite for risk, personality, attitude, and perception, as well as feedback from friends and family, impact buying decisions. It discusses how individual consumers as well as organizations buy products and services, and how you can connect with them after a purchase.

3. Managing Team Creativity: Do you ever think, "I'm just not that creative"? You're not alone. But companies increasingly expect their employees to think about problems in new ways and devise unexpected solutions. The good news is that creativity is not a gift, but a skill that can be developed over time. Learn nine simple tips to boost your creative output at work and learn how to think about the world in a different way, break problems down into manageable parts, divide and conquer a problem, and evaluate ideas systematically.

4. Marketing Fundamentals: Whether you're rebuilding your marketing program from the ground up or leading the first campaign of your career, this course will help you lay the foundation for a successful marketing endeavor. This course explains marketing's role in an organization; provides frameworks for analyzing a business, its customers, and its competitors; and shows how to develop a successful marketing strategy and use that strategy to inform everything from pricing to promotion.

You'll also learn to address tactical challenges and present the plan to get buy-in throughout an organization, from the C-suite to the sales team, as well as use the marketing plan to guide outside agencies and vendors. Finally, you'll learn how to launch the campaign and measure its performance. Topics include:

  •     Marketing in an organization
  •     Assembling the team
  •     Creating the marketing plan
  •     Analyzing your products, customers, and market
  •     Segmenting customers
  •     Creating a value proposition
  •     Developing a strategy
  •     Setting goals
  •     Setting prices
  •     Using social media
  •     Presenting your plan to leadership

5. Improving Your Judgement: Want to make better decisions at work? In this short course, you'll learn ways to confront your hardwired cognitive biases, in order to make good decisions and exercise more balanced, sound judgment. Topic include:

  • The base rate bias
  • The confirmation bias
  • The availability bias
  • The hindsight bias
  • The overconfidence bias
  • The sunk cost bias

6. Branding Fundamentals: Get a framework for branding, and learn how to develop and launch a brand and measure its success. This course explains how to define and position a brand and communicate the brand effectively internally, to employees, and externally, via social media, PR, advertising, packaging, and other channels. It explains how to measure brand performance in categories such as authenticity, relevance, differentiation, consistency, presence, and understanding. The course concludes with solid steps for periodically reviewing the brand and its effectiveness, especially when there are significant changes that could impact the brand. Topics include:

  •     Identifying your core values and drivers
  •     Linking your business model to the brand
  •     Identifying customers
  •     Developing your brand promise
  •     Expressing brand identity
  •     Creating a brand book
  •     Expressing brand in social channels, through advertising, and in packaging
  •     Measuring brand performance

7. Writing a Marketing Plan: A solid roadmap makes any marketing effort more successful. This course will help business professionals write and leverage great marketing plans. Learn how to assemble a team to create the plan, analyze an existing market, and break down the plan's components into focused sections. It offers advice on how best to present and leverage the plan throughout an organization. Topics include:

  •     Planning for a marketing campaign
  •     Writing the situation analysis
  •     Writing the strategic, tactical, and budget sections of the plan
  •     Leveraging your plan