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Seeing the World Through Your Teammate’s Eyes

Our contribution to our teams includes a history of bias. We each see the world through a unique lens filtered by a blend of past experiences and learning style. Often, innovation is hampered by bias. We believe we are considering every possible angle yet we’re limited by the boundaries of our own perspective. Alternate views are alien and cause discomfort if they don’t fit the tidy little universe we’ve created. What might happen if we turned it upside-down? Reflect on these two examples:

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Insight Minus Action Equals Frustration

Doctors diagnose before they treat. Teachers assess learning needs before crafting lesson plans. Risk managers evaluate danger before implementing safety measures. Coaches scout defenses before designing offensive schemes. Action follows insight. Understanding what do is a much different task than doing it. Unfortunately, many teams get stymied after the analysis. You can build a strategic plan with good intentions but you only frustrate the team if everyone is too busy to execute.

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Innovation Strategy: Segregate or Integrate?

The most impactful innovations are rarely just the good ideas arising from workplace cultures that support creativity. They are the outcomes of diversity and collaboration that begin with a problem and end with a solution that improves the world. As simple as the recipe might be, it’s difficult to assemble and sustain a team of people who are capable of unselfish, integrative thinking. Why, for instance, would a group of world renowned physicians invite a team of engineers and designers to a strategy session? Even though the physician has never designed a device and the engineer has never performed a surgery, the integration of their talents might create a breakthrough in disease management. How might this apply to your industry?

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Simplifying Innovation

Innovation is often the solution to the struggle between capacity and complexity. The challenges faced by teams get more complicated each day. The ability of the team to meet these demands is further stretched. The gap widens as time moves forward. Depleted teammates are encouraged to work smarter not harder. If you invest energy in designing a new way to approach a problem, you’ll be rewarded by the benefits of simplicity. This is the value proposition.

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Strategic Abandonment

Make your list today. What should I stop doing? In a workplace of unprecedented complexity, running faster and working harder only grows the problem. There’s no good way to pack 15 lbs. of potatoes into a 10 lb. sack. It’s time to abandon something. Subtraction is useful math.

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