support innovation

Support innovation


Collaboration drives creativity because innovation always emerges from a series of sparks … never a single flash of insight.

K.  Sawyer


What do you believe is a fundamental requirement to support innovation in a team environment? We believe collaboration and teamwork are fundamental to good innovation sessions and we work hard in our workshops to build these qualities.


Related: How to Develop These Leadership Collaboration Skills. 


Here are seven collaboration behaviors and techniques we use to support better innovation:


Group activity

Innovation is a group activity. Team members must share responsibility for the team’s process, climate and outcomes. Mining knowledge from different sources of expertise means asking for help, and being willing to accept it.


Conversely, the most successful teams report learning how to build enough trust is essential to be able and willing to relinquish ownership of ideas and innovations, while sharing the risk.


Risk taking

Innovation and creativity is risky. Teams must demonstrate support for risk taking and change, and tolerance of mistakes.


A team climate characterized by collaborative, mutually supportive relationships enables team members to take risks to innovate.


Creative disruption

Innovation can be creatively disruptive to team cohesion. Teams who innovate must be able to disagree and then find ways to reconcile conflict in order for innovative ideas to surface and thrive. Innovative teams are those that also tolerate temporary disharmony.


Welcome unusual ideas 

To get a good and long list of ideas, unusual ideas are especially welcomed. They can be generated by looking from new perspectives and suspending assumptions. Encourage your team in this regard before you start.



Iterative process

Innovation is iterative. Team members must truly hear one another’s perspectives to capture the innovative opportunities inherent in their collective ideas.


This requires team members trust one another, demonstrated by their willingness to be influenced by each other, sharing their ideas and allowing others to build upon and give them new dimension or meaning.


Discovery process

Innovation can be unpredictable and inefficient. Team members must learn from and respond to important discoveries as they arise.


The most successful team leaders know how to facilitate the discovery process for the greatest balance between inclusion and business efficiencies, without over-controlling the outcome.


And, team members must know how to build agreement from a variety of points of view in order to move forward.


Combine and improve ideas

Good ideas may be combined to form a single better good idea, as suggested by the slogan “1+1=3”. Dedicate at least one iterative innovation round to combining ideas.



Remember, to improve innovation support skills, build on creative convergence … that is your ability to discover new relationships between different ideas to form up a new idea.



What are some of your experiences with utilizing creative convergence and innovation?



What can you do about building an innovation culture in your business?  Please share an experience with this community.


Are you devoting enough energy to  improving the innovation  for yourself and your team?


So what’s the conclusion? The conclusion is there is no conclusion. There is only the next step. And that next step is completely up to you.


It’s up to you to keep improving your continuous learning and innovation. Lessons are all around you. In many situations, your competitor may be providing the ideas and or inspiration. But the key is in knowing that it is within you already.


All you get is what you bring to the fight. And that fight gets better every day you learn and apply new lessons.


When things go wrong, what’s most important is your next step.


Test. Learn. Improve. Repeat.


Do you have a lesson about making your innovation learning better you can share with this community? Have any questions or comments to add in the section below?


Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he blogs on topics that relate to improving the performance of your business. Find them on G+Twitter, and LinkedIn.  


Digital Spark Marketing will stretch your thinking and your ability to adapt to change.  We also provide some fun and inspiration along the way. Call us for a free quote today. You will be amazed how reasonable we will be.


More reading on continuous learning from Digital Spark Marketing’s Library:

Studying Innovative Change for Creative Business Ideas

The Most Innovative Company? Our Answer May Surprise You

Google and Innovation … What Is the Larry Page Vision?


Like this short blog? Follow Digital Spark Marketing on LinkedIn or add us to your circles for 3-4 short, interesting blogs, stories per week.









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