Effective team structure is critical when managing creativity and creative output.
It appears that many individuals are effective alone ? Einstein, Marco Polo etc ? however, what is usually overlooked is that these people often collaborated regularly. Also, it is very difficult to separate the idea from its influences. In any case, individuals are prone to path dependency, parochialism and reduced insight through reduced intellectual cross-pollination.
The negatives of the individual are reduced somewhat by the addition of another individual. Pairs keep each other grounded and there are no core and peripheral information flows ? there are only two people. However, parochialism and path dependency are still factors. The core aim of a pair should be to encourage diversity and novelty in each individual.
As groups get larger, the quality of results increases with intellectual cross-pollination. But group negatives prevent breakout:
a) Symptoms of group think increase
b) The percentage of individual performance declines
c) Groups of three to five elicit much more conformity than just one or two
d) Evaluation apprehension increases
e) Core and peripheral information flows exclude some people
f) Political strategies increase
In conclusion, a tactical combination of team structures increases creative output.
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Kal Bishop, MBA
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Kal Bishop is a management consultant based in London, UK. His specialities include Knowledge Management and Creativity and Innovation Management. He has consulted in the visual media and software industries and for clients such as Toshiba and Transport for London. He has led Improv, creativity and innovation workshops, exhibited artwork in San Francisco, Los Angeles and London and written a number of screenplays. He is a passionate traveller. He can be reached at http://www.managing-creativity.com