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Teaming to Innovate

Amy C. Edmondson

ISBN: 978-1-118-85627-7 December 2013 Jossey-Bass 144 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 12

A Recipe for Innovation 19

Aim High 26

A Worthy Goal 27

Engaging Hearts and Minds 34

It’s a Stretch 44

Worthy Aspirations That Motivate Innovation 47

Team Up 48

Strange Bedfellows 49

Teaming Across Boundaries 54

What It Takes to Team 60

When Conflict Heats Up 67

Embracing the Risks of Teaming 74

Fail Well 76

Unpacking Failure 77

Failing Well—At the Right Scale 88

Leading Failure 90

Courage and Fear 94

Learn Fast 96

Learning as You Go 97

How to Learn Fast 99

Overcoming Barriers to Learning 104

Leading Learning to Innovate 113

Conclusion 115

Recommendations for a Successful Innovation Journey 116

Leaders Who Innovate 119

Notes 123

About the Author 129