The Innovative Team: Unleashing Creative Potential for Breakthrough Results

The Innovative Team: Unleashing Creative Potential for Breakthrough Results

by Chris Grivas, Gerard Puccio


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New tools for tapping the creativity of teams and achieving breakthrough results

The Innovative Team is an engaging business fable that reveals the impact our underlying work style preferences have on our teams and their results. The authors present a breakthrough thinking process for developing successful teams. They introduce a uniquely effective set of tools built on FourSight, a measure of problem-solving preferences field-tested by top consultants, which can help anyone from professionals to novices solve problems and achieve performance breakthroughs. FourSight enables teams to understand their patterns of thinking and manage themselves more deliberately toward accomplishing a goal.

  • Written as a business fable that recounts the story of a team's journey from dysfunctional to high functioning
  • Outlines a new and effective set of tools for enhanced team performance
  • Details the four stages of a dynamic breakthrough thinking process

The Innovative Team offers a great resource for management and leadership development professionals, team leaders, and anyone interested in kick-starting innovation in their workplaces and lives.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781118115718
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 12/20/2011
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Chris Grivas is an organizational and leadership development consultant focused on increasing the creative capacity of individuals, teams, and organizations. His clients have included Ernst & Young, Connecticut Children's Medical Center, and New York University, among others.

Gerard J. Puccio is department chair and professor at the International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State College and partner in FourSight, a training company and publisher of FourSight: Your Thinking Profile. He is an accomplished writer, speaker, and consultant to Fisher-Price, British Broadcasting Corporation, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Kraft, and others.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

About the Authors xi

Foreword xv

Introduction 1

Part 1 The Story

Chapter 1 We Have a Problem 13

Chapter 2 JustWhat Kind of Duck AreWe Dealing with Here? 27

Chapter 3 The Sum of the Parts 33

Chapter 4 The Need and theWay Out 41

Chapter 5 Thinking About Thinking 59

Chapter 6 Mapping a Minefield 67

Chapter 7 The Power of a Good Question 77

Chapter 8 FromWild toWorkable 89

Chapter 9 Combining the Unlikely 99

Chapter 10 Be CarefulWhat YouWish For 109

Chapter 11 Preserving the Novelty 121

Chapter 12 Priming the Pump 127

Chapter 13 The Pieces Come Together 139

Chapter 14 What’s the POINt? 153

Chapter 15 Assisting Acceptance 163

Chapter 16 Sealing the Deal 181

Epilogue Where Are They Now? 187

Part 2 Exploring the Four Creative Thinking Styles

Chapter 17 Applying the Framework 193

Chapter 18 Clarifying the Situation 195

Chapter 19 Generating Ideas 205

Chapter 20 Developing Solutions 215

Chapter 21 Implementing Plans 225

Chapter 22 The Combination of Preferences Within People 231

Chapter 23 Creating Conditions for Success 237


1) What will individuals and teams learn from "The Innovative Team?"

We all use the same steps to solve problems, but each of us varies in our approach. Readers of "The Innovative Team" will discover the universal creative process and, more importantly, the unique ways they and others engage in that process. This appreciation enables teams to reach their goals more quickly, deliberately and cooperatively. Best of all, using the tools outlined in the book, anyone can attain much more innovative and targeted results.

Our story of a team in crisis reveals how differences in stylistic preferences play out in the group's dynamics. Recognizing elements of themselves and their teammates, they can understand and prevent sources of conflict and work better together. They will also learn a common language and creative thought process that is easy to apply, with practical approaches to enhancing teamwork and problem-solving on many levels.

2) How do you teach a team of different people with different personalities to be "innovative"? and what does that really mean?

Diversity can work for you rather than against you. While personality differences can sometimes breed conflict, diversity in a group of people working together more often than not presents a great opportunity for deeper growth and exploration of varied perspectives no matter what the topic. With the method introduced in The Innovative Team, learning begins with a common understanding of innovation and the universal creative process we all naturally take to generate a breakthrough. People see how they and their colleagues fit into it this process. As a result, readers will better recognize the parts of the innovation process that are more or less comfortable for them, i.e., aspects that might be natural sources of strength or hidden blind spots. Equipped with this knowledge team members can plan their strategy and discover why they relate the way they do - thus circumventing conflict before it happens.

The tool we use for helping people see how they fit into the creative process is called FourSight. This tool is based on more than 60 years of research, development and practice with respect to deliberate creative process. That is an approach to the creative process that moves creative thinking and innovation from the realm of mystery to a predictable methodology that is repeatable. FourSight is a reliable and proven tool that helps people understand how they use their creativity when solving problems. In our book, we outline the theory and demonstrate through storytelling how this knowledge can help a team move from striking out to hitting a home run.

3) In practice, working with your clients on this approach, what have been the biggest hurdles? What has gone easier than expected?

The easiest thing for our clients seems to be gaining an understanding of the universal creative process. After just a few minutes of explanation, people seem to really get it. It resonates easily with their own experiences.

The biggest hurdle is one common to any new learning experience: how to make it stick. Once you have the framework, the strategy for coming up with innovative solutions that fit a particular challenge and can be implemented with success - you need to use it. This often stands upon the commitment of the leader as well as individuals on a team to consistently apply the process. When learning anything new, if you don't reinforce it and get it into the vernacular it can fall by the wayside. Just like learning a language -If you don't use it, you'll lose it. And the more you use it; the more it becomes second nature.

A common reason some initiatives falter is that processes are often looked at as tools stored in the toolbox waiting for certain situations. In fact, the process and thinking tools we outline in "The Innovative Team" can be used in any situation. The more they are used, the greater your chances for breakthrough thinking; with practice it can become second nature.

Our book shows a team incorporating this knowledge on the way toward producing a great product for a client. Without that experience over time, continuously learning and applying the process, they never could have changed the way they approached the problem or each other.

4) Is this something every team can use (how so?) - or is it particular to certain types of teams?

We all naturally use the universal creative process, what we've done is just helped people become aware of that process. Our clients have used it with teams ranging from C-suite executives through front-line management, marketing to R&D, engineers to HR, doctors & nurses, special project teams, cross-functional teams, and in such sectors as the military, government, higher education, technology, health care, entertainment, food services, manufacturing, not-for-profits - you name it, where ever the mind goes there are always possibilities for innovative breakthroughs.

Any team tasked with a project, finding ways to make improvements, or solving a problem that does not have a readily apparent solution is a great candidate for this approach. If the FourSight method is done when a team comes together, during their planning stage where they are clarifying and setting their goals, a great deal of time is saved down the road by avoiding pitfalls like: serious infighting, losing sight of the goal or the process, or even solving the wrong problem. When it's introduced mid-way through the life of a team, we have seen satisfaction and engagement increase and results accelerate.

5) How does this approach differ from other approaches to creativity out there?

Much of the resources related to creativity and innovation in the popular press have focused on individual development of "creative thinking," meaning increasing the fluidity of your thoughts in order to attain more "Aha! moments." These resources are great for helping individuals train their minds to become more flexible, limit self-censorship, and thus generate lots of new neural connections. However, research from the last 60 years into creative thinking shows that the "Aha! moment" is actually only a fraction of what is needed to turn that idea into a targeted innovative result (innovation also requires discovery of the right problem, transforming aha! ideas into robust solutions, and successful execution). Our book translates that research into a new, full and complete, method that is simple to understand and use. People see that we all are creative - just in different ways, and at different stages in the process.

6) How is the FourSight measure different from other measures such as Myers Briggs or DiSC?

The fundamental difference between FourSight and the MBTI and DiSC is that those two measures allow you to identify personality and behavioral traits outside of context. These measures are very helpful in helping you understand yourself and your reactions to the outside world by opening up a lens into your internal world - the world of your psyche. FourSight does that as well, but puts that insight squarely within a context - the context of how you prefer to approach solving problems, addressing challenges, or making change happen. These preferences are likely to play a role in any situation in your personal or professional life that requires new thinking, a different approach, or an imaginative response.

Although they measure different aspects of an individual, all three of these measures (i.e., DiSC, MBTI, and FourSight), are complementary. If a person were to take them together and then look across them for commonalities and differences in their results, it would very likely lead to some very interesting insights.

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