Collaborative Innovation: Leverage Your Creative Differences

Written By Andrew Slade

Wouldn’t it be great if everyone could just get along? When it comes to creativity, maybe not. According to many experts, constructive conflict and creative tension influenced by a diversity of perspectives can lead to greater creativity and innovation. And this should come as no surprise. If you put together a group of like-minded individuals, it's unlikely that you’ll create something that’s genuinely new.

So why would I tell you something you probably already know? Image you’re throwing together a team for a new project. It’s only natural that you will want to build your team around go-getters like yourself. And chances are you’ll want them to work well with you and each other, so it’s likely you’ll seek to minimize and eliminate conflict whenever given the opportunity. But without even realizing it, you’ve already waved goodbye to your next big idea.

So how should you go about collaborative innovation? First, we recommend putting together a team with a diversity of perspectives. Often times the best teams are comprised of thinkers from varying ends of the creativity spectrum, from artists to engineers. Consider Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, for example.

Next, establish a common goal and embrace your conflicting ideas. One of the greatest barriers to innovation is the belief that conflict should be avoided. Instead, leverage your creative differences by integrating the contrasting ideologies into your project. Make your conflicts constructive and, finally, come to a hybrid conclusion!