Business Innovation – Effective Team Structures

Creativity can be defined as problem identification and idea generation whilst innovation can be defined as idea selection, development and commercialisation.

There are other useful definitions in this field, for example, creativity can be defined as consisting of a number of ideas, a number of diverse ideas and a number of novel ideas.

There are distinct processes that enhance problem identification and idea generation and, similarly, distinct processes that enhance idea selection, development and commercialisation. Whilst there is no sure fire route to commercial success, these processes improve the probability that good ideas will be generated and selected and that investment in developing and commercialising those ideas will not be wasted.

Effective Team Structures

The fact that the sum of ideas produced by individuals working alone is greater than the number of ideas produced by those individuals working in a group, is an indicator that team and groups structures are important considerations:

a) Large teams benefit from intellectual cross-pollination, but factors such as groupthink, core and peripheral information channels, status interactions, social loafing and individual shut downs reduce overall performance.

b) Pairs reduce intellectual cross pollination but some of the above inhibitors are also reduced. However, pairs are very successful – many comedy partnerships and creative teams in advertising working pairs.

c) Individuals are prone to path dependency, parochialism and competency traps. But many well known creations have been developed by individuals alone.

So what is the most effective team structure?

These and other topics are covered in depth in the MBA dissertation on Managing Creativity & Innovation, which can be purchased (along with a Creativity and Innovation DIY Audit, Good Idea Generator Software and Power Point Presentation) from

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Kal Bishop, MBA


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