After few hours of intensive participation in an innovation development process. There are few questions coming up to my mind.

  • Can structured logical process produce radical innovation ?
  • When people get into things like “focus” , “minimum viable product” and breaking down team into functional roles within the first 5 minutes of brain storming, not even get into the insights or answering what’s the real problem, the result is hardly anything innovative or transformational.
  • Does radical innovation normally a result of directed logical thinking or unstructured intuition?
  • Can you really dive into problems definition before getting a shared interest/vision/expectation from team members in order to deliver radical innovation?
  • Does analytical exercises all there are to innovation design, or unlock the team relationships & dynamics are equally important?
  • Do you come up with group’s insights in order to form hypotheses to be tested with market research or do we do market research in order to come up with hypotheses ? Both way is good? which way is more appropriated for certain situations?
  • Can you {Scrum, Kanban, MVP, etc.. } your way to innovation?
  • Is there a real trade-off between efficiency-oriented product development methods and radical innovation? I had been thinking about this for sometime.
  • How to get really good inputs from introverted Asians in a kind of westernised innovation brain-storming methodology?


Updated: Apiwat Hanvongse , my friend was saying “Typically team dynamics gets overlooked coz not as visible or sexy as discussions of MVP and product development, but team dynamics will put a ceiling on level of innovation possible. Hey man, There’s a whole body of literature on team dynamics. So, to keep it relatively short, I think most product managers dive into the work by identifying what the problem is and the kind of innovation is required. But the good product managers might try to see what various team members are bringing to the table. Assuming that the kind of work you’re talking about is interdependent, team members need to individually know their strengths/weakness. But, they also need to have an appreciation for areas outside of their expertise that is in the domain of other members.

When I say ‘team dynamics gets overlooked’ I mean problem definition get generally defined by one person or a minority few in the team who: 1. most outspoken, 2. most extroverted, 3. most comfortable taking up their authority, 4. loudest……that’s often how most groups move towards problem definition.

Generally less time is spent on getting to ‘shared’ interest/vision/expectation – key word being ‘shared’. Why? Because it takes time to get to ‘shared’ anything. The team has to examine: 1. How will it make decisions? 2. How will it resolve conflict? 3. How will it get feedback from all members?

Moreover, individuals have to decide whether they ‘belong’ in the team in the first place. Conciously or unconsciously individuals will begin to ask ‘what’s my role in this team?’ ‘Is my voice heard?’ ‘How much will I invest in this group?’ ‘Do I like these people?’ ‘Will my ideas get valued in this team discussions?’

Unless time is explicitly spent to ‘unlock team relationships and dynamics’ as you have alluded to, there will be a ‘ceiling’ on the level of innovation.

My assumption is the highest level of innovation comes when ALL team members are involved and committed and invest.

The lowest level of innovation comes when it’s not clear whether ALL members are involved or not. That’s the ‘ceiling’ concept….it’s a constraint on on whether the team reaches its full potential or not.

This could go on forever, but hopefully this answer begins to shed light on the complexity and importance of team dynamics. Would love to discuss more this winter.

IMHO …In my humble opinion 🙂:)

Thanks Apiwat!

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