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Innovative teams mean ‘we’ work together

Innovative, creative types are usually right brain people.  At least that is what we have been telling each other for years.  The thinking is that if we are to get innovative, entrepreneurial approaches going in our agency, we need to bring in more right brain people, more “creative” types.left-brain-right-brain

In a recent scientific article, “The Real Neuroscience of Creativity,” this long held idea is challenged.

Scott Kaufman states: “The latest findings from the real neuroscience of creativity suggest that right brain/left brain distinction is not the right one when it comes to understanding how creativity is implemented in the brain … the entire creative process – from the initial burst of inspiration to the final polished product – consists of many interacting cognitive processes and emotions.”  This all sounds pretty dry up to this point.

However, Kaufman goes on to say: “Importantly, many of these brain regions work as a team to get the job done, and many recruit structures from both the left and right side of the brain.”  It was at this point that I made the jump to us as an agency.  Basically, Kaufman is stating one of our values, but in scientific language.  We need one another.  Creativity and innovation happen because all different kinds of people get involved in the process.  It is not the domain of one kind of person or personality type. Innovation happens best in community.

Working on innovation through community is where things can get messy. Others may put ideas on the table that you or I consider outlandish.  Others may challenge our ‘creative and innovative’ ideas, forcing us to re-think their realistic application.  Yet, as I appreciate each person in the process, I gain a different perspective and participate in the creation of truly creative and innovative ideas.

9 Responses

  1. Thanks for this David. It makes a lot of sense.

    One resource to assist us in creatively seeking out synergistic ways to leverage our respective “creative” and “practical” ways of thinking is Stephen Covey’s “The 3rd Alternative.” He states, “If I don’t hear what another perspective brings to the table, I am unable to learn.” (very loosely quoted)

    • I love the quote, even if loosely quoted. Can you post a link to the actual quote? That would be great as it certainly supports the idea.

  2. Thanks David- That is a good thought for the journey and really just affirms again the importance of working together as a team and the value of each team member!

  3. Earlier I quoted (VERY LOOSELY – as you will note!) Stephen Covey as saying something like… “If I don’t hear what another perspective brings to the table, I am unable to learn.” (on the audio book, he uses words akin to this in an example – I think )
    At any rate, here’s the concept in Covey’s words…
    The following quote is taken from Stephen Covey’s book – The 3rd Alternative (p. 99)
    Remember the first paradigm of synergy: “I See Myself.” I have the power to stand outside myself and think about my own thoughts and feelings. I can examine my own motives: “Why am I caught up in this? Am I being egocentric? Do I need attention or affirmation? Do I feel my status is being threatened? Or am I genuinely concerned about the issue?” If I am already sure of my own self-worth, if I already feel confident about my own contribution and capability, I don’t need to defend myself against you. I can express myself candidly to you.
    But I also need to remember the second paradigm of synergy: “I See You.” That means I have profound respect for you. I value your ideas, your experiences, your perspective, and your feelings.
    Therefore, I practice the third paradigm of synergy: “I Seek You Out.” I am fascinated, not threatened, by the gap between us. Nothing defuses the negative energy of a conflict faster than to say, “You see things differently. I need to listen to you.” And mean it.
    If you practice these paradigms, you’ll inevitably arrive at a 3rd Alternative that makes the conflict irrelevant: “Let’s look for something better than either of us has thought of.” Everybody wins, everybody is energized. Often you won’t even remember what the fight was about.

    Summarizing – the concept I wanted to bring across is found in “You see things differently. I need to listen to you.”

    (I can provide a link via email for those who’d like to read portions of this book online)

    • Maybe I could summarize what you wrote by saying:
      (1) We need to be more and more self aware
      (2) We need to ask questions more than be answering questions (drawing the other person out)
      (3) We need to develop our listening skills.

  4. This is a very insightful blog. Few have sufficient neuro-conections between the the left and right brain to be able to be both innovative thinker and the practical implementor of a new creative endeavor. This most often requires the integrative functions of a balanced team. If all the members of the team are entrepreneurs you will have a lot of exciting innovative visions –even very good ones but none of them will ever be effectively implemented. To have a effective and efficient team there needs to be those who are strong as producers, administrators, entrepreneurs, and integrators.

    The producers have the skills and knowledge that know how to put legs under the innovative ideas so as to make them effective in action, yet producers resist change preferring the “tried and proven.” For the creative ideas to be implemented with all the systems and procedures working together efficiently there needs to be a strong administrator on the team, but administrators strongly oppose any new idea that would cause any change whatsoever in the established organizational procedures. When you have a balanced team that can both be innovative along with being effective and efficient in implementation of a new vision you will have conflict. This is why that it is so import to have a strong integrator on the team who is skilled in bringing an organic consciousness to the team helping all to see why we need each other and to integrate all to a common purpose and vision in alignment with the corporate values.

    If you want the team or organization to be innovative so as to be able to be flexible and proactive in a rapidly changing world or context the team leader should be an integrator/ entrepreneur and never an administrator/producer, but be sure that that team leader has an administrator and producers on the team.

    In observing organizational behavior both Christian and market place this is what I have observed.

  5. I’m not feeling very cranial or philosophical but I want to register how encouraging it has been to work with various “working groups” in WT in recent years. Even now some are recommending “InnovationPRAXIS” for us. Having read this blog post, it dawns on me that at least some of the joy comes from seeing the interdependence happen, from relishing the beauty of pieces coming together, and from catching the creative applications that emerge.

    • It has been so encouraging to see people’s responses to this post. Though couched in scientific jargon, it stresses what we all intuitively know is true: that we need one another and that plans/project/ideas are all better when a diverse group is involved.

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