Enhance Productivity and Efficiency with Stephen’s Innovation Insights

Innovation Insights by Stephen Shapiro

Here are the transcripts for the last two innovation minutes.

Innovation Minute #26:  Is your team playing with a full deck?

Twenty years ago when I started getting actively involved in the world of innovation, I thought there were some people who were innovative, and then there was the rest of the people. What I discovered, as you know, that that’s not true.

Everyone contributes to innovation, just in a different way.

Unfortunately, human beings like to hire people who are similar to themselves, people who fit the mold. Therefore we end up at a deep subconscious level, hiring a bunch of yes-men and yes-women. And this is the thing which kills innovation inside of organizations.

If you want to build innovation into your organization, one of the things you want to start thinking about is how do you play with the full deck? How do you get all the different innovation personalities together involved in your team in the right way at the right time?

The innovation process is an end-to-end process. It starts with an issue, problem, challenge, or opportunity, and ends with the creation of value.

There are four key steps and four key personality styles that are involved.

First, if it’s starting with an issue, problem, challenge, or opportunity, we need people who are good at defining the challenge.

Next, once we know what the problem or opportunity is, we need people who can develop solutions, the people who are going to develop breakthroughs. That’s a separate group of people.

Next, as we know, all the ideas in the world that aren’t implemented don’t create value. Therefore, we need people who are going to become masterful at that.

And throughout the whole process, we need people who are good at engaging the hearts of minds of others, because if we don’t have buy-in from people, innovation, of course, is never going to happen.

So take a look at your team. Do you have a bunch of people who are very similar or are you embracing different perspectives?

In the next video, I will talk a little bit more about this and how you create high-performing teams with people who are different, when in fact, differences can lead to dysfunctionality.


Innovation Minute #27: Diversity is not always a good thing.

As I mentioned in the last video, we need to make sure we have teams that are playing with a full deck, that means we have a complement of different styles, different personalities, working together on the innovation process.

I’ve done a number of studies over the years and it’s fascinating to see what types of teams are the best, which types of teams perform at the highest levels. I’ll give you three broad categories of teams.

Category one is a team of people who…where everyone is similar. They have similar backgrounds, similar experiences, similar personalities.

The second category is one which is diverse. People with different perspectives, different backgrounds, different personality styles. In that second category, we just put them together and let them do their own thing. We get out of the way.

The third category is that same as the second category in that we bring people together with different backgrounds, but we also spend time to give them the tools to understand how they can work together more effectively, and what the pitfalls will be.

The results?

The first team is very efficient. They work well together, they get a lot of things done, but it tends to be incremental in nature because at the end of the day, if we have a lot of commonality, we don’t have a lot of breadth of experience.

Interestingly though, it’s the second category that performs the worst. When we take people with diverse backgrounds and put them together, there’s a lot of head-butting. People don’t get along, they don’t understand each other, they don’t appreciate each other, and it is actually the least efficient and least productive of all the teams.

It is that third team, where we bring together people with different innovation personalities, different perspectives, and we take the time to have them understand the appreciation that they need to have for each other, how they contribute to the innovation process, that’s when we get high-performing teams.

So I want you to look at your team, see how you are organizing your structure. Have you taken the time to make sure everybody understands and appreciates the contribution of each person?

In the next video, we’ll dig deeper into this topic and talk about this concept of personalities a little further.

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