Innovation involves two stages—the generation of new ideas and the implementation of the ideas. Meanwhile, creativity is considered to be the first stage of innovation. While we know a lot about both, there’s still not a lot of research to guide leaders. The routes to team innovation are still being developed. So, to help maximize creativity on your own team, understand that the road to innovation isn’t always as straightforward as we may have once thought.
According to Harvard Business Review, here are some of the key things that we do know contribute to innovation, based on a comprehensive meta-analysis:
A vision. Teams are more innovative when members have a common understanding of team objectives and are committed to them. Clear and valued objectives can create meaning and motivation for team members.
Goal interdependence. Goal interdependence is the extent to which team members can meet their goals only by having the other team members achieve their goals. You create goal interdependence by setting objectives that must be achieved collectively and by addressing issues, including feedback, as a team.
Support. Teams are more innovative when managers expect and approve of innovation, support members when their attempts to innovate are not successful, and recognize and reward new ideas and their implementation.
A task orientation. This is a shared concern for excellence that stems from the compelling vision. Teams with a task orientation set high performance standards, monitor their performance and provide feedback.
A cohesive team. Cohesion represents commitment to the team and a desire to be part of the team. Researchers see cohesion as creating a psychologically safe environment that enables members to challenge each other.
Communication. Strong internal communication allows for sharing knowledge and ideas, and creates a safe environment for providing feedback. And, external communication fosters innovation by learning from others and bringing new information into the team.