How Is Your Team At Creative Abrasion?

When I’m talking about how to get your team innovating, there’s one model I keep referring to. It maps out the three critical capabilities that teams need to have in order to do the hard work of creative innovation.

Model of Innovation Capability, from Hill et al, Collective Genius

In their book Collective Genius, Prof Linda Hill and her team explain, “Leading innovation is about building an organization where individual slices of genius come together to create collective genius through collaboration, discovery-driven learning, and integrative decision-making.”

To create that kind of innovative space, Hill’s research team say, leaders need to create a place where people are:

  • willing to do the hard work of innovation, with its inherent paradoxes and stresses
  • capable of doing that hard work.

As a trainer/facilitator, my focus tends to be on capability. And I really love the model of innovation capability that Hill’s team devised.

It suggests that for innovation to happen, organisations – and, I infer, their teams – need:

  • Creative Abrasion: the ability to generate ideas through discourse and debate
  • Creative Agility: the ability to test and experiment quickly
  • Creative Resolution: the ability to make integrative decisions.

“Creative Agility”, here, has a lot in common with “Agile”, I think. A central focus in Agile transformations is testing ideas quickly, in order to deliver value to the customer.

But what about Creative Abrasion and Creative Resolution? Are those skills getting enough attention?

Can your teams really thrash things out together? Can you brainstorm effectively; explore and to build on each others’ ideas; and make a clear choice that stays chosen?

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