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Teaming to Innovate

Amy C. Edmondson

ISBN: 978-1-118-78843-1 September 2013 Jossey-Bass 30 Pages


Innovation requires teaming.  (Put another way, teaming is to innovation what assembly lines are to car production.) This book brings together key insights on teaming, as they pertain to innovation. How do you build a culture of innovation? What does that culture look like? How does it evolve and grow? How are teams most effectively created and then nurtured in this context? What is a leader's role in this culture? This little book is a roadmap for teaming to innovate. We describe five necessary steps along that road: Aim High, Team Up, Fail Well, Learn Fast, and Repeat. This path is not smooth. To illustrate each critical step, we look at real-life scenarios that show how teaming to innovate provides the spark that can fertilize creativity, clarify goals, and redefine the meaning of leadership.

Executive Summary 1

Introduction 3

What It Takes to Innovate 3

Situating Innovation on the Process Knowledge Spectrum 9

A Recipe for Innovation 14

Aim High 20

A Worthy Goal 21

Engaging Hearts and Minds 25

It’s a Stretch 32

Worthy Aspirations That Motivate Innovation 34

Team Up 36

Strange Bedfellows 36

Teaming Across Boundaries 40

What It Takes to Team 45

When Confl ict Heats Up 50

Embracing the Risks of Teaming 55

Fail Well 56

Unpacking Failure 57

Failing Well—At the Right Scale 65

Leading Failure 67

Courage and Fear 69

Learn Fast 71

Learning as You Go 72

How to Learn Fast 73

Overcoming Barriers to Learning 77

Leading Learning to Innovate 83

Conclusion 85

Recommendations for a Successful Innovation Journey 85

Leaders Who Innovate 88

Notes 91

About the Author 97