There’s been some recent research which shows that individuals working on their own are much more effective at producing new ideas than when working within a team.  However, to get even better results, leaders should use a mixture of creating new ideas and brainstorming techniques.

From the research by Nicolas Kohn, Paul B Paulus and Yunhee Choi, it was found that ideas were generated better when people were working on their own.  However, when the participants were asked to then take those individual ideas and brainstorm them to produce better solutions, the team approach was the most effective, with ideas rated as more useful, more feasible and having more impact.

Therefore, the approach would be to allow individuals to work independently to create new ideas in the first instance, and then bring them together as a team to brainstorm and combine those ideas into an innovative new solution.

However, this needs to be combined with a leader’s ability to understand, appreciate and incorporate the behaviours, motivations and personalities of those involved in the team.  Leaders benefit from understanding how to maximise the individuals’ strengths and abilities, and how to reduce any potential negative effects from conflict, stress and working styles.

After individuals have been given the task of working independently on a solution, they can then be asked to share these with the team.  As a leader, running regular innovation meetings with the team will require you to:

  • Develop self-awareness and understand the attitudes and behaviours of all of your team members.
  • Understand collective motivational needs and those specific to each individual
  • Build trust and encourage a safe and open environment to share ideas.
  • Actively listen and encourage team listening of everyone’s contribution
  • Appreciate that debate is healthy, but conflict needs to be managed.
  • Provide appropriate feedback
  • Help everyone learn from mistakes and the successes.
  • Assess effectiveness against objections
  • Celebrate success.

With this combined approach, creativity and innovation can be more effective and provide much needed support for your organisation’s success.

Expand the JigsawFor more brain friendly techniques to help with the creativity process, subscribe to download our free guide, Expand The Jigsaw.





Additionally, developing self-awareness through tools such as the MBTI will help you to understand your own stress triggers and preferences, but also to understand individual differences and how to support those to lead to the team’s success.  You can find more information on executive coaching, or contact us for an initial discussion.


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