Have you, in your organization, ever held an innovation or idea generation session? If you haven’t, you should really start. However, the danger is that you organize these in a pointless way. Most businesses have crowdsourcing software online tools in place that are accessible to all, but then they bring the same people in to discuss results again and again. Usually, when we create a working group or team, we pick people who we believe to be experts on the subject matter, or who we have worked with in the past.

Of course, expertise and ease are important issues. However, there puzzle is made up of many other pieces as well. It is very important that you don’t always rely on the “usual suspects”, and particularly not when you hope to come up with something truly innovative.

What to Look for in Your Innovation Team

There have been significant pieces of research to show how idea generation can work best when done in a group. When people get put together, they can solve some fantastic problems. However, they can only do this when you get the right people together. You need to find the creative dynamos within your organization. Some of the ways to recognize them is by looking for those who are:

  1. Open to new experiences. You need to find someone who likes to have varied jobs and responsibilities, who is intellectually curious and always wants to learn, and someone who is imaginative and uses this to think outside of the box.
  2. Focused on aspirations. People who focus on aspirations tend to be the ones who know what is and isn’t possible, who have a futuristic view, and who have a positive and optimistic attitude. You cannot have pessimists on an innovation team, because they will only see what could go wrong.
  3. Very creative. You want people who are not afraid to come up with an idea, even if previous ones have been shot down, or were proven to be terrible. Creative people can see connections where others miss them. This is a hugely valuable skill.

If you seriously want to be able to find the “super group” that exists within your organization, there are ways to measure creative aptitude in an objective manner, which you may want to consider. Creativity is not entirely genetic, and it can always improve. However, some people are creative in their very nature, and this is the nature that has given them their expertise and experience, which you want to harness for your business.

Creative aptitude is not the only thing you should look for when you select your people. Another thing that you may want to consider is bringing in people who come from the outside. You could go as close as someone from a different team, or as far away as someone from a completely different organization. This is known as an “external break down group”, which can make people far more creative.