The 4 characteristics of a highly innovative team

When leaders talk about innovation, they often focus on the individual: the team member who comes up with the big idea or people who think outside of the box. This is understandable because a new idea is often where innovation begins and because those who generate ideas tend to do so without help from others. But what about a team? What does it take for an entire group of people to be highly innovative?

1. They have team members who do not fear failure and treat it as a learning tool for future success.

When you hear “failure,” what comes to mind? No matter your answer, it’s safe to say that the image of failure is not positive. But if you’re an innovative team member, failure should be something you embrace and use as a learning tool for future success.

Failing is an essential component of innovation because it’s how we learn what works and what doesn’t. You may have heard the saying: “There are no failures, only learning experiences.” Even if you’re not familiar with this quote, I’m sure you’ve had some sort of experience where something didn’t work out as planned and then later realized there was something valuable that came out of the process (or at least there was nothing lost in terms of time or resources invested).

If we don’t allow ourselves room for failure—if everyone on our team has their heads down and avoids risk-taking—we’ll never get anywhere new.

2. They encourage diversity and the inclusion of multiple viewpoints and take advantage of the unique skills of team members from different backgrounds and disciplines.

Diversity is good for innovation. A team with diverse viewpoints will have a broader view of problems, which can lead to better solutions. For example, if you’re building a new product and want to know what people think about it, you could poll potential customers by phone or online. If your team has members from different backgrounds (e.g., marketing, sales and engineering), then you’ll get more in-depth feedback on how the product works in different environments—and this will help you design products that appeal to more people at once.

Diversity isn’t just about race or gender; it also means having employees from different disciplines on the team (e.g., marketing specialists versus designers). Those with different experiences also bring unique skills sets that can benefit everyone else on the project because they’ll have perspectives not shared by colleagues with similar professional backgrounds but less life experience outside their field(s).

3. They play to their strengths, being aware that they all share one common goal, which is to move the organization forward through innovation.

Now that you know what makes a highly innovative team tick, it’s time to apply these principles to your own organization. Bring together your team and make sure they understand their specific roles in helping the company innovate. Then talk about how they can work together to achieve their common goal: moving the company forward through innovation.

4. They value intelligence over knowledge, as they believe that knowledge alone won’t lead to success, but innovation will lead to new knowledge.

The team leader doesn’t believe in the old saying “there is no substitute for a good education.” Instead, he or she believes that there are far too many examples of highly intelligent people who have failed at what they set out to do because they didn’t take the time to learn from their mistakes and adjust accordingly.

The team leader’s philosophy is this: while experience can be invaluable, it doesn’t always give you the tools or insight needed to solve problems quickly and efficiently; innovation does! A team with a creative mindset is able to generate ideas without having all the answers—and then find those answers through trial and error. The goal of innovation isn’t simply getting things right; it’s getting things right faster than anyone else so as not be left behind by competitors!

Being highly innovative is within reach for anyone who leads or belongs to a team

You might be thinking, “If innovation is a journey (or process), then how can I get my team to be innovative?” It’s all about changing your mindset. Innovation isn’t just for the top leaders of a company or department. In fact, innovation is most powerful when it happens at every level and stage of a business—and that includes your team. An innovative workforce turns ideas into action, which leads to results and growth for companies large and small.

So how do you get started? Start by doing one simple thing: hiring people who are willing to innovate; then encourage them by providing support and resources. You’ll soon find yourself with a highly innovative team on your hands!

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