“We’re drawn to the image of the lone genius whose mystical moment of insight changes the world. But the long genius is a myth; instead, it’s group genius that generates breakthrough innovation. When we collaborate, creativity unfolds across people; the sparks fly faster, and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” -Keith Sawyer ‘Group Genius’
The most creative and innovative organizations, from Pixar to Ideo, understand that the strength and sustainability of their creative and innovative output is based on their ongoing ability to raise the capacity of their individuals to work fluidly in diverse and collaborative teams.
They understand that their creative and innovative ‘genius’ lies in the team…not the individual.
Even if we buy into the concept of the lone genius whose creative and innovative ideas have revolutionized and disrupted industries and thinking, we eventually find that there are collaborative forces and teams at work in the background. We find that this lone genius has built a diverse and strong team that drive the creative and innovative output of the organization.
It is only when we fully believe and invest in the idea of the lone genius…that we diminish the creative and innovative capacity of organization.
And when we buy into the ‘myth’ of the lone genius, we often fail to not only invest in the growth and capacity of our teams, we effectively wring out the very diversity that makes those teams the creative and innovative hubs of our organization. Instead of creative and innovative teams, we create ‘yes’ clubs, that in effect, are thee only to support the ideas and thinking of that lone genius. ‘Fan’ clubs to feed their ego.
The ‘myth’ of the lone genius eventually subtracts, what truly creative and innovative teams multiply in organizations…
It is not only in ideas that collaborative teams excel over the lone genius…it is in action, as well. Truly creative and innovative teams are geared for action. They live and work in virtual beta…ongoing idea sharing, spark new insights, leading to new ideas, experimentation, and eventually new ways of thinking and doing.
Whereas, with the lone genius and the ‘yes’ club…action is non-existent, or limited at best. Very seldom are ideas and insights shared from the team, rather the team waits on the lone genius for the next idea, the next insight from which to determine where they will take action. Everything rests on the thinking and ideas of one person, eventually limiting and eroding the capacity of the team and the organization.
While the lone genius can spark and lead creativity and innovation in an organization. Eventually that one spark will fade away…
Investing in diverse and collaborative teams provides a multitude of sparks. Igniting an ongoing flow of new thinking and ideas that continually spur the organization forward in creative and innovative ways. Leading to action. Initiating change and growth from the collective capacity of the whole, over the limited output of the ‘one’.
“Collaboration drives creativity because innovation always emerges from a series of sparks – never a single flash of insight.” -Keith Sawyer ‘Group Genius’