In previous posts of this series, I covered accepting disruptive personalities, allowing spontaneity and creating conditions for interactions. Underlying these are people. These are processes akin to cooking; thus, people are the ingredients. What mix, what proportions, how much of each ingredient do we need? These are the questions now.
Unfortunately, it’s very easy to see people uniformly. There is not one ingredient. They are different individuals. Still, to facilitate our understanding and implementation, we require groupings.
Referring once again to Jonah Lehrer’s article, “Groupthink – The Brainstorming Myth” (The New Yorker, January 30, 2012 edition), he writes at length about Brian Uzzi’s (Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University) work with Broadway musicals. Essentially, the people mix, promoting creativity and innovation the best, has two major attributes:
- Base of people who are friends from previous work assignments
- Significant proportions of people new to the group
This reinforces the importance of diversity and relationships for innovation in business today. This diversity isn’t necessarily one of demographics but of personalities and relationships. While the exact mix is unknown to us and likely varies, we do know group uniformity does hamper creativity and innovation. That’s why the introduction of a single, different personality into a highly uniform group can dramatically impact team intelligence.
Conversely, teams of strangers struggle initially to find how to best work with one another. Since this requires work, important relationships don’t grow and important interactions don’t occur. Again, this exemplifies the need to create conditions encouraging such interactions among strangers as well as friends.
The overall goal of this mix between friends and strangers, as Uzzi tells Lehrer, is to ensure people “were comfortable with each other, but they weren’t too comfortable.” As an example, adding dissenters to the people mix ensures groups don’t become too comfortable.
- How to Make Group Brainstorming Effective
- Linking Disruptive Innovations and Disruptive Personalities
- How Work Pressure and Fear Affect Innovation
- Creative Innovation (Pt 4): Spontaneity & Frequency
- Creative Innovation (Pt 5): Employees Running into Each Other
- Creative Innovation (Pt 6): People Mix
- Creative Innovation (Pt 7): Conflict
- Creative Innovation (Pt 8): Guidelines over Rules
- Creative Innovation (Pt 9): Pessimism’s Positivity
- Creative Innovation (Pt 10): Information & Interruptions
- Creative Innovation (Pt 11): Quantification Restricts Creativity
- Creative Innovation (Pt 12): Associative Thinking
- Creative Innovation (Pt 13): Overcoming Biases
- Creative Innovation (Pt 14): Time Alone
- Creative Innovation (Pt 15): Prototypes as Obstacles