Tom Kelley and David Kelley on the Care and Feeding of an Innovation Team

Creative ConfidenceIn Tom Kelley and David Kelley’s book, Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All (to be published by Crown Business, October 2013), they offer some excellent advice on the “care and feeding of an innovation team.” Here is an abbreviation of their recommendations (Pages 194-195).

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Working with people from diverse backgrounds is valuable, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It can lead to “creative abrasion.” But as you work through conflicting opinions and points of view, new ideas can emerge.

To maximize the creativity of your team, keep in mind the principles that “d.shrink” Julian Gorodsky and former student Peter Rubin developed at [Stanford’s] to help team members be more supportive, honest, empathic, open, and comfortable enough with each other to encourage creative ideas.

1. Know each other’s strengths. Imagine your team as a band of superheroes, each with his or her own special ability and weaknesses (or kryptoinite).

2. Leverage diversity. The dynamic tension between and among different viewpoints is what makes diverse teams a fertile ground for creativity. It can also be a souyrce of tension and miscommunication.

3. Get personal. Don’t separate personal life from your professional life. Bring your whole self to work.

4. Put the “relationship” back into “working relationship.” Long after a project has been successfully completed, comraderie should be (and usually is) what will matter most to team members.

5. Craft your team experience in advance. How can team members help each other? What will be the rules and guidelines all will follow? How to support each other during tough times? Remember the Musketeers: “All for one and one for all!”

6. Have fun! Make it a priority to hang ouyt togethger and get to know each other as people. Go hiking, go bowling, plan a picnic. Have fun together.

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To pre-order a copy of Creative Confidence, please click here.

Tom Kelley is the co-author with Jonathan Littman of The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America’s Leading Design Firm and The Ten Faces of Innovation: IDEO’s Strategies for Defeating the Devil’s Advocate and Driving Creativity Throughout Your Organization; David Kelley is founder of IDEO and Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (“d. school”).

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