Sunday, January 12, 2014

Three Traits of Innovative Team

Innovation journey is like taking a hiking trip at the trail very few or even no people ever went before, it takes courage and emotional maturity.

Due to the complexity of today’s business dynamic, more often than not, innovation is a teamwork, rather than just an individual’s effort, what are the successful traits of an innovative team, and how to improve  the team’s innovation fluency?

1.    Innovation Leadership 

Innovation leadership is crucial, as leaders must have a clear vision and be strong in communicating it. An innovation leader must walk the tight rope between diplomat and maverick. An innovation manager is like an entrepreneur, but even has a more challenging job: an Entrepreneur is a decision maker who always depends on his/her thought; decides what, how, and how much of a good work or service will be produced. He or she supplies risk capital as a risk taker, monitors and controls the business’ activities as a manager. The success of innovation depends on proper management. Through proper management, the business is able to overcome the obstacles to successful innovation.

An innovation leader may have his/her own constitutional innovation leadership behaviors across the innovation Creator, Translator, Stabilizer; Navigator, etc, with the pattern of required behaviors to face the emerging situation and succeed. The leaders in innovation today are problem-solvers, who have to create, manage, and orchestrate the innovation symphony not completely written yet, it takes practice, practice, practice.

2. Mutual Trust  

If innovation starts with a vision, it's primarily a journey through which the innovator has to interact with others upon how to innovate; if you don't trust inputs from others, how do you innovate. Many good ideas get buried simply because the innovator fails in interesting others or in adapting to their input. 

Mutual trust present openly to others and don't worry too much about hidden agendas, if you get enough feedback, unfair input should be easily identified; or it’s not as simple as the case that once you phrase your vision, others will simply take it and transform it. Mutual trust is the prerequisite for creating innovation team harmony: In most cases of disagreement, it is ideological, such as the confused definitions, or how the individuals process information that causes disharmony, through trusting with each other, team can create synergy by understanding problem more profoundly and solving innovation puzzles more collaboratively.  

3.    Emotional Maturity 

Innovation journey is like taking a hiking trip at the trail very few or even no people ever went before, it takes courage and emotional maturity.

No matter if one is managing or participating in a collaborative environment, one’s emotional maturity enables the suspension of judgment. The self-actualized individual proposed by Maslow’s law was able to clearly understand their perspective and try to understand and incorporate the understanding of others without feeling the egos cry for attention. It is both trusts as well as an emotional maturity (a highly self-actualized nature) that allows one to collaborate and easily integrate the ideas of others. Having clear constraints also improves the innovative environment.

Innovators are the round pit, doesn’t fit the square hole, they are disruptive to the status quo. But working with individuals who have a strong sense of self has many benefits as well. One tends to trust them because they say what they mean and mean what they say.  Indeed, innovation is all about how to disrupt the old thinking and old way to do the things, sometimes it is emotional, but it’s also a progressive and mature way to move forward.

Organizations need to invest in the cultivation of capacity for innovation. Mutual trust, innovation leadership, and emotional maturity are all critical in building a highly effective innovation team and achieve an exceptional result.


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