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The Innovative Team: Unleashing Creative Potential for Breakthrough Results Hardcover – December 20, 2011

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Editorial Reviews Review

Q&A with the Authors
Author Chris Grivas
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

From the Inside Flap

"The faster things change, manyexperts say, the stronger your crea-tive thinking and problem-solving skills need to be. To successfully compete in the twenty-first century, leaders are calling for increased training in creative problem solving everywhere from boardrooms to elementary classrooms."
From the Introduction

Told through the lens of an engagingbusiness fable, The Innovative Team offers team leaders and team members a proven framework for promoting innovation and creativity within their organization. Based on more than twenty years of solid research and international field testing, The Innovative Team tells the tale of a fictional dysfunctional team that needs to come up with a good idea or get canned by their client. The fascinating narrative introduces a uniquely effective set of tools built on the authors' proven FourSight framework—Clarify the Situation; Generate Ideas; Develop Solutions; Implement Plans.

Using the FourSight approach, team leaders and members can learn how to focus their creative thinking in order to respond to situations that have no easy answers or immediately apparent solutions. It enables teams to under-stand their unique patterns of thinking and gives them the ability to manage themselves more deliberately toward accomplishing a goal. Implementing this field-tested framework demystifies the process of creativity and innovation so that any team can achieve performance breakthroughs.

The Innovative Team offers a great resource for management and leadership development professionals, team leaders, and anyone interested in kick-starting innovation in their workplaces and in their lives.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (December 20, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118115716
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118115718
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #334,403 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amy Alexander on January 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed the way that Grivas and Puccio break down the creative process so that it becomes evident that creativity is not reserved for those typical "creative" types. In fact, a truly innovative powerhouse like Apple thrives when sleuths, hole pokers, and go-go deal closers get involved. It's not just the brainstorming whizzes who bring success to an innovative effort. If your company is stocked with so-called creative types, you will want to read this book. If you feel like there is no way your straight-shooting widget building company can find a new way of doing things and wow the marketplace, then read this book to see what you can do with your collective brain.
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Format: Hardcover
By nature, an innovative team is one comprised of members who rely on innovative thinking to improve a concept, methodology, system, process, or product. Those who comprise a team know more and can do more than any of its members can. In Tom Davenport's latest book, Judgment Calls, he and co-author Brooke Manville offer "an antidote for the Great Man theory of decision making and organizational performance": [begin italics] organizational judgment [end italics]. That is, "the collective capacity to make good calls and wise moves when the need for them exceeds the scope of any single leader's direct control."

Please keep the reference to "organizational judgment" in mind when considering these comments by Chris Grivas and Gerard Puccio in the Foreword to their book: "we have discovered that most people report having higher levels of energy for some areas of creative process over others. We refer to these four creative creative-thinking preference types as Clarifiers, Ideators, Developers, and Implementers. Each way of thinking is fundamental to the creative process; that is, you need all four to generate breakthroughs, but our research and applied work has highlighted the fact that people will vary in regard to how comfortable they are thinking and behaving as Clarifiers, Ideators, Developers, and Implementers."

However different members of an innovator team may be in many respects, Grivas and Puccio urge them to consider a theory, developed into a methodology, called FourSight that has been severely tested and rigorously refined over a period of several decades in real-world organizations whose leaders were determined to "un leash creative potential for breakthrough results.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Deborah Browne on February 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was an eye-opener for myself as well as my Team, a alternative HS in Brooklyn. It is written in an extremely accessible way and is a game changer in terms of thinking about designing your team in work and all areas of life.
I loved it so much that I showed it to my Principal, who was always looking for new angles on innovative approaches to education. She invited Mr. Grivas to speak to all of our team and he delivered a riveting presentation which allowed us to identify our roles on the team and re-think how we can react to each other in a proactive way. She also bought copies for the whole staff who read it voraciously over the vacation and came back renewed and enjoyed applying business principles to our work. We were also able to apply these lessons to our students and help these understandings to our pedagogy.
I highly recommend the book and the author for speaking purposes
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By david betz on February 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Whether you are just starting out in business or a seasoned pro, the scenario, personalities, and prose format make this book accessible and engaging for a wide range of readers. The tools and processes towards the back make it a handy reference for anyone engaged in teamwork focused on innovation.

I've made a career with creative teams large and small, and was delighted to find useful insights and reminders that will improve performance for me and my teams. There's a Myers-Briggs like approach towards individual preferences for various aspects of the creative process that provided an AHA moment for me.

If you're looking for ideas and a framework for moving your business or team forward in innovative ways, this is the book for you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Chancellor TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover
We have long known that there are different personality types and our predominate type has a bearing on how we relate in the world. In The Innovative Team the authors Chris Grivas and Gerard Puccio explore our personality types from a different perspective.

When dealing with creativity in the work place, according to the authors, there are five different personality preferences which we encounter: Clarifiers, Ideators, Developers, Implementers and Integrators. All significant developments in the world of business come about as a result of team efforts. One person may have an original idea, but breakthrough innovations are generally the results of a team effort.

How that team works together will have a real bearing on the creative output of the team. There needs to be a balance between the various personality types and there needs to be a process they follow in order to ensure that the team produces the best and most innovative ideas they are capable of doing. The book is all about guiding team members to become aware of their own personality preferences and giving them a process to work through the various stages of clarifying the problem, generating ideas, developing those ideas into solutions and implementing the ideas.

The first part of the book uses a fictional story to illustrate the concepts and how they might be applied in the real world. The story shows the conflicting styles which are often encountered in most business teams. Some people want to clarify forever while others are so focused on implementation that there is constant conflict within the team. Because the individual team members are not aware of their own preferences, they do not realize the impact their personality type has on the overall performance of the team's efforts.
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