Yesterday, I answered a Quora question about effective workplace team building activities and how to best impact people and performance. Today, I was asked to respond to the above question, so I thought to share those simple thoughts herein, also.
How DO you generate better innovation in meetings? Here is what I said:
Dilbert said, “Change is good. You go first.”
And that seems to be one of the critical issues in getting new things thought of and good ideas implemented. Push people to think out of the box and look at issues and opportunities from different perspectives than usual. Lots of different ways to do that or tools you can use to push divergent thinking or alternative generation. (My Square Wheels® images represent one way to facilitate this.)
But also keep in mind that, “Nobody ever washes a rental car” and that the feeling of ownership is a critical factor if you intend to generate commitment and drive teamwork and implementation. The issue of implementation can get complicated as well as political, but building good expectations and setting up feedback / measurement systems.
Different people will see things differently, so facilitating a discussion where different alternatives are discussed is important. Note that some people will immediately jump to The Answer and even do “Godzilla Meets Bambi” on other people’s ideas, so having some kind of voting process is useful. Again, all sorts of different ways to accomplish that.
(Side note: Godzilla Meets Bambi is a short video I produced 10 years ago that is about these same kinds of issues and the reality of what can happen if desired outcomes do not align with organizational realities. You can see that short animation here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOZk6UOii6M
Having someone play Devil’s Advocate as an assigned / shifting role can also be useful to unsure that ideas are viewed from different perspectives. Sometimes it is just too easy for people to go along with an idea without due diligence.
And deciding on “Expected Next Steps” and timelines is useful. The clearer The Path, the less confusion and the more buy-in. Minimize surprise. Generate a clear picture of doing something new or, “morebetterfaster*” than you are currently doing things. Make the vision of the future more attractive, rather than threatening.
There is no silver bullet. It is all about ideation, buy-in, planning and execution. Be sure there are sufficient resources (time, money, leadership) to give people the feeling that the new initiative can be successful. (And note that it often takes YEARS to change organizational cultures!)
So, I hope that you found this short overview and response to be of some value. You can find the Quora post with other replies here.
* Tom Peters is thought to have said, “It’s really simple. If we are not getting more better faster than they are getting more better faster, than we’re getting less better or more worse.” (article here)
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Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement products like Square Wheels®.
Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant who designs simple, powerful effective learning tools.
See the powerful new teambuilding game, Seven Seas Quest, Saviors of Cultura
Learn more about Scott at his LinkedIn site.
Square Wheels® is a registered trademark of Performance Management Company