Last week, I attended an event to hear Linda A. Hill of Harvard Business School and Greg Brandeau of Pixar and Walt Disney. They have a new book called Collective Genius, The Art and Practice of Leading Innovation. Linda, Greg and a small team traveled the world to visit individuals within organization who were exceptional innovators. The book is more about the individual leader than focused on the organization as a whole.

I haven’t read the book (yet).but I wanted to share some of the key concepts for you to think about.

  1. Innovative Groups are able to “combine members’ slices of genius into a single work of collective genius.”
  2. The Leader of innovation creates a “context, an environment, where people are willing and able to do the hard work that innovative problem solving requires.”
  3. Willingness is grounded in: Creating a sense of community through Purpose, Shared Values, and Rules of Engagement.
  4. The Shared Values of innovative groups are: Bold ambition (not risk), collaboration, responsibility, learning.
  5. The Rules are a combination of: how to think and how to interact with each other.
  6. Innovation Ability is required in three areas: creative abrasion (generate ideas through discourse and debate), creative agility (test and experiment through quick pursuit, reflection, and adjustment), and creative resolution (make integrative decisions that combine disparate or even opposing ideas).

I am eager to read and apply this body of work. What struck me at the end of the talk was that a leader or team doesn’t need to have a “call to innovate” to take great advantage of the ways of an innovation team. What do you think?