Teamwork and creativity

2010

Suppose that every organisation had within it four teams, each of which had a specific task. People on these teams would have other roles as well, but would work with others to fulfil specific tasks.

The focus of each team would be distinct, and it is important that this distinctiveness is preserved. There should be no question of integrating the functions of the teams or of exchanging members. It is possible that over time a particular person could switch from one team to another. This switch would be deliberate and permanent and not just for the moment.

The rigidity of this team structure might surprise those who believe that creativity should be free and unstructured.

Team one is the 'values' team. The role of this team is to find and figure out values that matter. Values might arise from social observation. Values might be triggered by changes in technology.

Technology might even create negative values, and then there will be a need to get rid of the negative values.

Team two is the 'idea team'. The idea team takes the defined values from the value team and seeks to design an idea that would allow the values to be delivered in a practical way.

It is not just a matter of delivering the values, but of delivering them in a way that makes business sense. There has to be profitability and there has to be cost control.

Team three is the 'implementation' team. Implementation has to go into detail in a very specific way. It is not enough to say: 'there would be a way of doing this'. The specific way would have to be spelled out. How is it going to be done? Who is going to pay for it? What might the problems be?

Team four is the 'assessment' team. There has been a defined value. There has been an idea for delivering that value. There has been a specific suggestion as to how the idea might be implemented. The assessment team can now look at the whole picture. It should function in a positive and constructive sense. Where necessary, modifications might be suggested. The assessment team should contain creative people as well as number-crunchers.

The proposed teams – Value, Idea, Implementation, Assessment – work separately, but together: like the four legs of a horse or the four wheels of a car.

Another analogy might be the human digestive tract. Each part does its prescribed job and then passes matters on to the next section. The clearly defined function of each team clarifies the thinking and ensures that every aspect of an innovation is fully considered.

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About The Author

Edward de Bono
Edward de Bono

Edward de Bono is a leading authority in the field of creative thinking. Over 35 years after the publication of his first book, "The Mechanism of Mind", the basic principles he outlined are now mainstream thinking in the mathematics of self-organising systems and in the design of neuro-computers. His many subsequent books have been translated into 26 languages.