A Creative Conspiracy for Team Success

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A creative conspiracy for team success BY LEIGH THOMPSON 12 Industrial Management EXECUTIVE SUMMARY While standard operating procedures can be a sound way to conduct business, those procedures must be based on solid science that works. Unfortunately, for years the organizational guidelines for team creativity have been designed, unwittingly, to limit that creativity. New research has busted the stifling myths of yesteryear and revealed a new approach and best practices that yield better and more creative idea generation. january/february 2013 13 Several factors have made creativity paramount for successful teamwork and organizational success. Staying in place and business as usual are not optimal strategies. Unfortunately, much of what well-meaning business and professional people do to enhance the creativity of their teams actually does more harm than good. Well-meaning leaders hold key myths about creativity. These myths need to be debunked and replaced by practical ways to redesign team meetings to help teams reach their creative potential. Collaboration is the art and science of combining people’s talents, skills and knowledge to achieve a common goal. Creative collaboration is the ability of teams to organize, motivate and combine talent to generate new and useful ideas. When collaboration is conscious, planned and shared with others, excitement builds and a conspiracy develops. Unfortunately, a lot of unfounded beliefs about creativity can thwart a productive, creative conspiracy. Consider, for example, four common best practices: • Get rid of rules: Create a free-for-all; after all, who likes rules? • Focus on quality, not quantity: We all know that quality trumps quantity. • Spend as much time together as possible: Face-to-face interaction in the age of the digital divide is considered the most valuable. And physical separation is considered

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