June 25, 2018

How to have an innovative team

As we've transitioned from family albums on Facebook to expressing ourselves in 140 characters (now 280) and sharing photos with Snapchat filters, adapting to Instagram, and now, we find ourselves (much) older, learning TikTok dances and watching or creating Twitch streams. Technology evolves rapidly, and if we don't continuously update ourselves, we can fall behind without even realizing it. When we translate this reality to the workplace, it raises the question of how to keep our organization up to date. Having an innovative team is essential, but how do we achieve it?

To foster an innovative team, you don't need to start from scratch or try to clone a Steve Jobs. It's not about searching for that stereotypical lone genius who only communicates to make eccentric demands or request donuts. True innovation thrives in great teams composed of collaborative individuals who build networks. As a leader, you have the ability and responsibility to nurture the innovation capacity of every member of your organization.

There are numerous ways to promote innovation within your team, and here are some effective methods to do so:
  • Create a good environment: It is essential to have an environment where people feel comfortable thinking and presenting ideas. And not only that, they also need time to innovate. If during the week they don't have a gap without homework, we can't expect creativity to flow. Enable task-free hours so they can dedicate it to innovation.
    In 2012, Google created the research project "Project Aristotle", in order to find out what makes their successful teams perform so well. Inspired by Aristotle's phrase: "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts" they discovered that it is security, the opportunity for each team member to talk about their ideas without fear. We have previously reflected on this here.
  • Promote collaboration: Collaboration helps discover new ways of thinking and find better solutions. Generosity is always a competitive advantage. For it to exist, we need to create a strong foundation of open communication, where all voices are heard and respected. In addition to communication channels where people can talk to each other, and not just those of the same project.
  • Don't control: Excessive control hampers innovation. Empowering the individuals within your team is the foundation for fostering innovation. Provide your team with autonomy so they can think, create, and discover solutions, and then analyze the results with them. As the group Olé- Olé… already proclaimed.
  • Support Diversity: Effective leaders understand that innovation originates from various sources. If everyone is alike, what new ideas can we anticipate? Innovative teams consist of individuals with diverse personalities and skills, resulting in a more extensive and practical approach that aids in the development of innovations they could not have achieved alone or within an excessively homogeneous environment. If you'd like to learn more on this topic, we invite you to read this post.
  • Information sharing: Naturally, effective interpersonal communication is essential, both within teams and throughout the entire organization. To generate new ideas and solve problems, we require individuals who are dedicated to the organization's mission, and this necessitates the widespread dissemination of information. How can we encourage the flow of information? Through communication! This could be achieved through video conferences or by physically bringing people together whenever possible. Establish feedback channels, gather your team members, and witness how they begin to share knowledge.
  • Assess and Acknowledge:Your team must consistently assess its progress toward its objectives, regardless of what those objectives may be. This enables them to respond promptly to areas that need improvement and align with the creative strategy. Innovation begins with the recognition of the purpose or problem that needs to be addressed. Furthermore, acknowledging ideas, effort, and the hours spent thinking outside the box motivates individuals to innovate.
  • Out of the office!: Organize outdoor activities. Regardless of how beautiful your office space might be, taking your team outside of the usual environment can provide a breath of fresh air. Make sure to incorporate an element of fun. Seek team-building activities that appeal to all members and help foster connections. Even in remote settings, there are plenty of enjoyable activities available: games, contests, interactive whiteboards, and more – as if you were trying to score a touchdown!

Embracing innovation is crucial for fostering a thriving work environment. Individuals aspire to grow, develop, learn, and enhance processes collectively. Why not embark on this journey as a team?