Q&A with the Authors
What will individuals and teams learn from "The Innovative Team?"
|Author Chris Grivas |
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.
"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.