How can you create an innovative team? How can you foster an environment that makes a development team more creative? Is this even possible?
Executives often consider how to boost innovation in the development team, wondering about best practices and tactics. 84% of customers say it’s somewhat or very important that the company they buy from is innovative. And, 93% of business executives believe that “organic growth through innovation will drive the greater proportion of their revenue growth.”
If your company is ready to innovate, then there are certain tactics to drive a more open, creative culture.
Build the Right Team
Innovative products come from innovative minds, so build a creative team based on personality rather than skills. Start by selecting a team lead that can foster an open space and who also has the right tools and authority to maintain team focus and concentration. This leader should be able to coax creative minds and lead them towards better product development.
When adding to the team, skills should take the backseat to personality. A dynamic individual who can work in a team to build something great is much better than a person with strong skills who works alone and doesn’t cooperate. Seek out people who have their entire self in the project and who can throw themselves wholeheartedly into innovation.
Whatever else you need, outsource or augment. An innovative team isn’t necessarily one that works all day together in a big conference room; instead, an innovative team can be located all over the world. Whatever skill or need you lack, utilize the cost-effective choice and outsource or augment your staff. Usually, an outside team member can help ask the right questions and give an unbiased perspective, adding valuable insight to the project.
Make the Right Space
Once the team is ready to go, it’s crucial they have everything they need in terms of office space, tools, and resources. Do all team members have functional workspaces? Do they have space to focus and collect their thoughts? Are there certain tools that could help make their day easier?
Investing in the right space for a development team innovation will reduce day-to-day annoyances and barriers, allowing everyone to increase productivity.
Use Conflict for Good
The innovation team brings together different personalities with different backgrounds, so conflict is inevitable. But conflict can be a good thing because it gets the team to ask questions, dispute claims, and, ultimately, build a better product. Of course, there is some type of bad conflict, and team leads should look out for discussions that are not productive.
“Constructive conflict,’ on the other hand, means challenging each other to find a better solution to a problem. Instead of going along with assumptions, team members should ask if there is a better way of doing things and amicably discuss the options.
Stay on Course and Measure Progress
While innovation can mean creative thinking and alternative work styles, the team should stay on track with measured goals and progress reports. It is difficult to set goals on creativity, but team leads should ensure the product doesn’t go off the rails because the staff takes too long to brainstorm.
Using measurements such as ‘yes there is a gap in the market’ or ‘no there isn’t’ can be helpful for productivity. Ultimately, it is important to find a product that is needed and will work, so measurements do not need to be structured.
Driving an innovative team starts with a company being ready to scale and create, so be sure your business is at that point. It’s important to have a diverse group of analytical thinkers who can question best practices and build a unique product.