Objections. Judgement. Criticism. Debate can facilitate quite a bit of innovative team problem solving activities.
It’s true. If your team members like to collaborate, you shouldn’t make them compete…depending on your goal. If your goal is to help your team boost innovation and problem solving, it may be best to go “against type” when selecting an event. Criticism creates innovative teams.
“Teams that utilized conflict in their process consistently outperformed teams that focused on cohesion. In a summary of [one] study’s results, the researchers write ‘Our findings show that debate and criticism do not inhibit ideas but, rather, stimulate them relative to every other condition.”
Debate = Innovative Team Problem Solving
Don’t start any fights! It’s important to provide a method of interactive and representational argument for your team. Otherwise, you may descend into chaos and hurt feelings. Nobody wants that.
As IDEA suggests (and their logo implies), you should create a “participatory learning environment where individuals feel safe to explore ideas and view topics from a variety of perspectives” in order to boost innovation and generate more ideas.
Here’s a few problem solving strategies that work:
(1) Assign a Dissenter or “Devil’s Advocate”
Assign one person to find and present reasons why every idea may not be feasible. Now it’s his or her job to challenge everyone. It’s not personal! Well, as long as everyone sticks to debating rather than arguing.
Debates are typically:
- Formal and intellectual
- Concerned with factual events, or theories
- About persuading an opposing group to an alternate viewpoint
Arguments are typically:
- Informal and personal
- Not always concerned with factual correctness
- About things both parties are aware of, thus no opposing viewpoints are involved
(2) Pixar “Plussing”
Anytime someone comments on another’s work, that comment must contain a “plus” — a way to improve or build on the work. This technique provides a foundation for the criticism. The original idea is something to still build upon rather than dismiss as a whole in this scenario.
Instead of assigning team roles, plussing keeps critiques positive as a whole.
These are both strategies that can be incorporated into events, meetings and even company culture. If you’re trying something new, start with more structure like a team building event.
TeamBonding is re-defining the world of company culture. We know that the key to company growth and positive company organizational culture is to invest in your team through team building. In our 25+ years of experience, it’s not surprising that it’s in our nature, which is ultimately what has defined our success. The Founder, David Goldstein has been actively building his team for years, so it’s no secret he’s got the best team! Not only does David plan activities for his team to enjoy, but he also began a whole engagement committee to toss around ideas for his team to do… and the sky is the limit.
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