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"The power of a good story to teach us important life and business lessons is strikingly evident in this enjoyable, realistic, and practical business tale. It's two books in one, really—both a fictional story and a factual tutorial on how you can move a group intentionally through the important stages of innovation. When you read The Innovative Team you'll travel down the path of breakthrough thinking and ...
"The power of a good story to teach us important life and business lessons is strikingly evident in this enjoyable, realistic, and practical business tale. It's two books in one, really—both a fictional story and a factual tutorial on how you can move a group intentionally through the important stages of innovation. When you read The Innovative Team you'll travel down the path of breakthrough thinking and experience the many twists and turns, ups and downs, detours and speed bumps of a group that's challenged to solve a tough business problem. At the completion of the journey, you'll be treated to a master class in creative problem solving. You'll learn practical tools, valuable tips, and important concepts that you can apply to your own innovative team. It's a must-read for all leaders who want to improve the ways in which their groups find new and sustainable solutions to the ever-increasing challenges that organizations face."
—Jim Kouzes, coauthor, The Leadership Challenge; Dean's Executive Fellow of Leadership, Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University
"Keeping the faith on new ideas, especially when they are genre breaking or truly innovative, is never easy. This story of a group of colleagues trying to do exactly that reveals the struggles occurring daily in organizations aiming to innovate. It offers insights into the frustrations of bringing about innovation, while providing readers with practical ways to drive creativity through their business."
—Linda Green, development executive, The British Broadcasting Corporation
"We live in an age of unprecedented and rapidly accelerating change, in which everyone wants to be innovative but few can define what that actually means or describe how to get there. Through simple language and storytelling, this book creates awareness of the creative resources in your organization and offers a proven framework to harness them and achieve real, measurable results. Highly recommended!"
—Dr. Casimer DeCusatis, IBM Corporation; recipient of the 2011 Sigma Xi Walston Chubb Award for Innovation and the 2002 Mensa Copper Black Award for Creative Achievement
"Great teams pursue innovation, and this book tells you how. Drawing on years of research, the authors offer a process you can use with your team. They show you what successful breakthrough teams do; they pull you toward your team's possibilities."
—Geoff Bellman, consultant and author of Extraordinary Groups and Getting Things DoneWhen You're Not in Charge
"If you're looking to up your performance as a team or simply increase your chances of getting change adopted, you'll get there with The Innovative Team. Backed by research-based tools and twenty years of experience, this book teaches individuals and teams how increasing their awareness of the breakthrough thinking process can accelerate performance. From fable to process deep-dive, this is a must for your toolbox."
—David Gonzalez, design and delivery manager, Center for Creative Leadership
About the Authors xi
Part 1 The Story
Chapter 1 We Have a Problem 13
Chapter 2 JustWhat Kind of Duck AreWe Dealing with Here? 27
Chapter 3 The Sum of the Parts 33
Chapter 4 The Need and theWay Out 41
Chapter 5 Thinking About Thinking 59
Chapter 6 Mapping a Minefield 67
Chapter 7 The Power of a Good Question 77
Chapter 8 FromWild toWorkable 89
Chapter 9 Combining the Unlikely 99
Chapter 10 Be CarefulWhat YouWish For 109
Chapter 11 Preserving the Novelty 121
Chapter 12 Priming the Pump 127
Chapter 13 The Pieces Come Together 139
Chapter 14 What’s the POINt? 153
Chapter 15 Assisting Acceptance 163
Chapter 16 Sealing the Deal 181
Epilogue Where Are They Now? 187
Part 2 Exploring the Four Creative Thinking Styles
Chapter 17 Applying the Framework 193
Chapter 18 Clarifying the Situation 195
Chapter 19 Generating Ideas 205
Chapter 20 Developing Solutions 215
Chapter 21 Implementing Plans 225
Chapter 22 The Combination of Preferences Within People 231
Chapter 23 Creating Conditions for Success 237
1) What will individuals and teams learn from "The Innovative Team?"
We all use the same steps to solve problems, but each of us varies in our approach. Readers of "The Innovative Team" will discover the universal creative process and, more importantly, the unique ways they and others engage in that process. This appreciation enables teams to reach their goals more quickly, deliberately and cooperatively. Best of all, using the tools outlined in the book, anyone can attain much more innovative and targeted results.
Our story of a team in crisis reveals how differences in stylistic preferences play out in the group's dynamics. Recognizing elements of themselves and their teammates, they can understand and prevent sources of conflict and work better together. They will also learn a common language and creative thought process that is easy to apply, with practical approaches to enhancing teamwork and problem-solving on many levels.
2) How do you teach a team of different people with different personalities to be "innovative"? and what does that really mean?
Diversity can work for you rather than against you. While personality differences can sometimes breed conflict, diversity in a group of people working together more often than not presents a great opportunity for deeper growth and exploration of varied perspectives no matter what the topic. With the method introduced in The Innovative Team, learning begins with a common understanding of innovation and the universal creative process we all naturally take to generate a breakthrough. People see how they and their colleagues fit into it this process. As a result, readers will better recognize the parts of the innovation process that are more or less comfortable for them, i.e., aspects that might be natural sources of strength or hidden blind spots. Equipped with this knowledge team members can plan their strategy and discover why they relate the way they do - thus circumventing conflict before it happens.
The tool we use for helping people see how they fit into the creative process is called FourSight. This tool is based on more than 60 years of research, development and practice with respect to deliberate creative process. That is an approach to the creative process that moves creative thinking and innovation from the realm of mystery to a predictable methodology that is repeatable. FourSight is a reliable and proven tool that helps people understand how they use their creativity when solving problems. In our book, we outline the theory and demonstrate through storytelling how this knowledge can help a team move from striking out to hitting a home run.
3) In practice, working with your clients on this approach, what have been the biggest hurdles? What has gone easier than expected?
The easiest thing for our clients seems to be gaining an understanding of the universal creative process. After just a few minutes of explanation, people seem to really get it. It resonates easily with their own experiences.
The biggest hurdle is one common to any new learning experience: how to make it stick. Once you have the framework, the strategy for coming up with innovative solutions that fit a particular challenge and can be implemented with success - you need to use it. This often stands upon the commitment of the leader as well as individuals on a team to consistently apply the process. When learning anything new, if you don't reinforce it and get it into the vernacular it can fall by the wayside. Just like learning a language -If you don't use it, you'll lose it. And the more you use it; the more it becomes second nature.
A common reason some initiatives falter is that processes are often looked at as tools stored in the toolbox waiting for certain situations. In fact, the process and thinking tools we outline in "The Innovative Team" can be used in any situation. The more they are used, the greater your chances for breakthrough thinking; with practice it can become second nature.
Our book shows a team incorporating this knowledge on the way toward producing a great product for a client. Without that experience over time, continuously learning and applying the process, they never could have changed the way they approached the problem or each other.
4) Is this something every team can use (how so?) - or is it particular to certain types of teams?
We all naturally use the universal creative process, what we've done is just helped people become aware of that process. Our clients have used it with teams ranging from C-suite executives through front-line management, marketing to R&D, engineers to HR, doctors & nurses, special project teams, cross-functional teams, and in such sectors as the military, government, higher education, technology, health care, entertainment, food services, manufacturing, not-for-profits - you name it, where ever the mind goes there are always possibilities for innovative breakthroughs.
Any team tasked with a project, finding ways to make improvements, or solving a problem that does not have a readily apparent solution is a great candidate for this approach. If the FourSight method is done when a team comes together, during their planning stage where they are clarifying and setting their goals, a great deal of time is saved down the road by avoiding pitfalls like: serious infighting, losing sight of the goal or the process, or even solving the wrong problem. When it's introduced mid-way through the life of a team, we have seen satisfaction and engagement increase and results accelerate.
5) How does this approach differ from other approaches to creativity out there?
Much of the resources related to creativity and innovation in the popular press have focused on individual development of "creative thinking," meaning increasing the fluidity of your thoughts in order to attain more "Aha! moments." These resources are great for helping individuals train their minds to become more flexible, limit self-censorship, and thus generate lots of new neural connections. However, research from the last 60 years into creative thinking shows that the "Aha! moment" is actually only a fraction of what is needed to turn that idea into a targeted innovative result (innovation also requires discovery of the right problem, transforming aha! ideas into robust solutions, and successful execution). Our book translates that research into a new, full and complete, method that is simple to understand and use. People see that we all are creative - just in different ways, and at different stages in the process.
6) How is the FourSight measure different from other measures such as Myers Briggs or DiSC?
The fundamental difference between FourSight and the MBTI and DiSC is that those two measures allow you to identify personality and behavioral traits outside of context. These measures are very helpful in helping you understand yourself and your reactions to the outside world by opening up a lens into your internal world - the world of your psyche. FourSight does that as well, but puts that insight squarely within a context - the context of how you prefer to approach solving problems, addressing challenges, or making change happen. These preferences are likely to play a role in any situation in your personal or professional life that requires new thinking, a different approach, or an imaginative response.
Although they measure different aspects of an individual, all three of these measures (i.e., DiSC, MBTI, and FourSight), are complementary. If a person were to take them together and then look across them for commonalities and differences in their results, it would very likely lead to some very interesting insights.
Posted February 12, 2012
Thanks to this book I was able to look back over the many teams I have been assigned to, and see all the things we might have done better as we worked together. Reading the "fable" was like reading my bio. Here are practical workable proven ways to make any team function more optimally, with greater efficiency and exciting success. A must read for all team players!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.