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How to develop innovative teams: don’t just bond – bridge!

QQ. What does it take to flourish in a team?

ANS: A bridge.

In this case a bridge with some flexibility. This is a swing-bridge over the River Ouse, East Sussex, at Southease.

Flourishing in teams

West M,A., Sacramento, C.A, In ‘Creative Management and Development. Henry, J (2011) pp25-44

Or ‘how to develop team innovative teams’

New ways of doing things.

SEE FULL QUOTE (West and Farr, 1990)

Initial creativity leads to innovation.

Innovation is dependent on: (Oldham and Cummings 1980)

  • Team task
  • Group composition
  • Organisational context
  • Team processes
  • Skill variety
  • Challenge Task identity

Task feedback & Autonomy (Hackman and Oldman, 1980)

Innovative people are:

  • Creative implementors
  • Think in novel ways
  • Think globally (they see the wood for the trees)
  • Intellectual and see things in different ways
  • Analytic abilities
  • Practical contextual abilities to persuade others
  • And show openness (Barrick et al., 1998) + they have confidence in their abilities.
  • Self-disciplined
  • High degree of drive and motivation
  • Concerned with achieving excellence

(Mumford and Gustafson, 1998)

Innovative people have a high need for freedom, control and discretion in the workplace and appear to find bureaucratic limitations or the exercise of control by managers frustrating. (Barron and Harrington, 1981; West, 1987; West and Rushton, 1989)

THEREFORE:

  1. Ensure the team task is intrinsically motivating.
  2. Ensure a high level of extrinsic demands as the task develops, so hands off to start but pressure mounting towards the end.
  3. Select a team of innovative people.
  4. Select people with diverse skills and backgrounds.
  5. Provide organisational rewards for innovation.
  6. Create a learning and development climate in the organisation.
  7. Develop a climate for innovation in the organisation.
  8. Establish team norms for innovation.
  9. Encourage reflexivity in teams.
  10. Ensure there is clarity of leadership in the team and that the leadership style is appropriate for encouraging innovation.
  11. Manage conflict constructively and encourage minorities to dissent within teams.
  12. Don’t just bond – bridge!

CONCLUSIONS

The ‘whole’ task, its entirety.

Brainstorm away from the everyday

Later pressures help.

Fully integrated team working

REFERENCE

Barrack, M,R; Stewart, G,L; Neubert,M,J; Mount,M,K (1998) relating member ability and personality to work-team processes and team effectiveness. journal of applied psychology 83 , 377-91

Barron, F.B and Harrington, D.M  (1981) Creativity, Intelligence and Personality in M.R. Rosenweig and L.W.Porter (eds) Annual Review of Psychology, 32, 439-76.

Hackman, J, R and Oldman G,R (1980) Work Redesign. Reading, MA. Mumford M,D and Gustafson, S,B (1998) Creativity Syndrome: Integration, application and innovation. Psychological Bulletin, 103, 27-43

Oldman, G, R and Cummings, A (1996) Employee Creativity: personal and contextual factors at work. academy of management journal, 39 (3), 607-34

West, M.A (1987) Role Innovation in the World of Work. British Journal of Social Psychology, 26, 305-15.

West, M,A and Farr, J,L (1990) Innovation at work. In M.A.West and J.L.Farr (eds) innovation and creativity at work: Psychological and Organisational Strategies, Chichester, England.

West, M.A and Rushton, R. (1989) Mismatches in work role transitions. journal of occupational Psychology, 62 271-86

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