Category Archives: teams

How to Educate for the Future – Not the Past

Clearly, we need to rethink education. Our kids will face a much different world than we live in now. In fact, a study at Oxford concluded that nearly half of the jobs that exist today will be automated in the next 20 years. To prepare for the future, we need to replace our regimented education system with one that fosters skills like teamwork, communication and exploration.

Sarah Miller Caldicott (1957-2017) Illuminating Collaborative Innovation

The innovation community has unexpectedly lost a dear friend, colleague, and collaborator. Sarah Miller Caldicott was a great-grandniece of Thomas Alva Edison and, in several books and insightful presentations, she illuminated Edison's collaborative genius and further reignited his relevance today. Sarah Miller Caldicott (1957-2017) will be dearly missed.

Innovation: The Ultimate Team Sport

Team-innovationA fast way to boost your creativity is to harness the brainpower of others. Creativity is a team sport, and you’ll generate better ideas if you surround yourself with people to help you.

When you invite colleagues to be part of a creativity session, be sure to create a diverse team. Diversity helps people see more possibilities. It creates a stronger sense of group accountability. Diverse groups cause people to bring their best thinking, to behave properly, and to maintain their status in the group as a positive contributor.

You want diversity in three ways: functional, gender, and cultural.

Functional diversity means that team members come from different parts of the company. Now it depends a lot on the topic you’re generating ideas for. Generally speaking, I try to include co-workers from marketing, from my technical team, and from my sales or customer support team. But at times, it makes sense to include colleagues with financial skills or regulatory knowledge.

Taken together, you want the right people in the room who can help you not only generate ideas, but also help you decide which ideas are the best and most feasible. That takes a team of people with different skills and knowledge.

You also need a team with good gender diversity. Research suggests men tend to create more aggressive ideas while women are more pragmatic. Working together averages out these tendencies to produce novel and practical solutions. Without gender diversity, your team may end up producing a larger share of uninteresting or unsupportable concepts.

Finally is cultural diversity. The best teams have members with different ethnic backgrounds. They broaden the team's perspective on how best to commercialize new inventions on a global scale. Without this, teams produce a larger share of niche ideas that may satisfy only one regional market.

Now here are some tips.

  • Be sure to keep the group size at twelve or less. Any larger than that becomes hard to facilitate.
  • Be sure participants are fully committed to participation in the workshop. Avoid letting people drop in and out as it suits their schedule. Otherwise, it interrupts the flow of the workshop. And be sure participants have right level of knowledge about the topic. They’ll have trouble contributing if they know nothing about the subject matter.
  • Finally, make sure you reward the participants for being a part of your session. You do that by practicing the Golden Rule of Creativity - give back your time and expertise to those who gave it to you. The most creative people practice the principle of reciprocity by helping others and asking their help when needed.

Exploring Drivers of Innovation Change

Exploring 9 Drivers of Innovation Change - Innovation ExcellenceI always show a particular interest in statements claiming to have identified a relevant driver of innovation change, then to think through these. Let me offer mine since using the different drivers can give you new insights into your innovation activities plus also can prompt significant changes to freshen up your innovation portfolio. Continue reading

Design Thinking in Lima Peru

Silicon Valley's Innovatioship recently three days leading an open-invitation workshop in design thinking. It attracted a wide range of participants from Lima and other parts of Peru, from local CEOs wanting inspiration to students looking to increase their innovation skills. Continue reading