Creative Thinking Tools Design Thinking Teams

Team rotation across projects

A key com­po­nent of facil­i­tat­ing team based cre­ative think­ing process­es, is the require­ment that teams repeat­ed­ly move around projects. There are a num­ber of impor­tant rea­sons for this dynam­ic:

Ideation—Going for Volume

More peo­ple, means more ideas. Mas­ter­ing a process requires rep­e­ti­tion; by mov­ing the teams to a new project while still in the same phase of the process, allows them to get a bet­ter feel for what it is they are try­ing to achieve and how to iden­ti­fy the appro­pri­ate lev­el of out­put and inno­va­tion.

Team Development—Building the Broader Team

The process is designed around the per­son­al jour­ney of the indi­vid­ual par­tic­i­pant. Part of this per­son­al devel­op­ment is the recog­ni­tion of the individual’s con­tri­bu­tion to their team. Sec­ondary to this is the rela­tion­ship between teams. As a healthy com­pet­i­tive­ness devel­ops between teams, it is vital to the advance­ment of the indi­vid­ual that they see how each team is inter­de­pen­dent and builds on the con­tri­bu­tion of the oth­er teams.

Energy Management—Maintaining a Positive Atmosphere

As each project devel­ops through each stage of the process each team will loose ener­gy as they run out of ideas. Until each indi­vid­ual learns to push through this wall and devel­op fresh­er more inno­v­a­tive ideas, it is impor­tant to build con­fi­dence and avoid dis­heart­en­ment. Observ­ing the ener­gy lev­els with­in the group will inform as to when the right time to switch is.

Presentation Skills—The Confident Communicator

Team rota­tion also offers a unique oppor­tu­ni­ty to devel­op key skills in the par­tic­i­pant. As one team pass­es off their con­cepts to the next team, each per­son quick­ly real­izes after a few exchanges that clear com­mu­ni­ca­tion is vital to the sur­vival of their ideas. Only ideas with a strong, eas­i­ly repeat­able nar­ra­tive devel­op past a cou­ple of rota­tions. Par­tic­i­pants also quick­ly learn anoth­er key com­mu­ni­ca­tion skill and that is to ask the appro­pri­ate ques­tions of the team whose work they are going to be tak­ing over. Not ask­ing the right ques­tions makes build­ing on the work of oth­ers much more dif­fi­cult and low­ers pro­duc­tiv­i­ty.

This con­tin­u­ous devel­op­ment of nar­ra­tive and ques­tion­ing, builds on both the con­fi­dence of the par­tic­i­pant but also on their knowl­edge of the sub­ject area. Indi­vid­u­als learn that their team­mates will have answers to their ques­tions as well as ques­tions of their own. The devel­op­ment of these skills makes a marked dif­fer­ence in the more for­mal pre­sen­ta­tions, which are far more mature than those of equiv­a­lent stu­dents engag­ing in oth­er meth­ods of deliv­ery.

Fail­ure to engage in time­ly rota­tions rep­re­sents a lost oppor­tu­ni­ty for key skill devel­op­ment and will have a very neg­a­tive impact on the over­all per­for­mance of the group. As the team spends to long in each key stage, they will become demor­al­ized as they run out of ways of gen­er­at­ing new ideas. A dis­il­lu­sioned team requires a dis­pro­por­tion­ate amount of facil­i­ta­tion to get back on track and the neg­a­tiv­i­ty can spread rapid­ly. To short a time and they will be unable to expe­ri­ence the feel­ing of run­ning out of ideas, which is huge­ly impor­tant to the process.