Researchers has already described broadly the impact of surface-level diversity for team’s creativity and problem-solving. But is this surface diversity enough?
Hiring people in different age, nationality or gender can increase the potential of your team, but it doesn’t guarantee the success of the whole innovation process. What really matters is usually not visible with the naked eye. Therefore, it hides behind stereotypes and impressions. Cognitive diversity is what makes your team capable of creating innovation.
Why is cognitive diversity important for your team?
Cognitive diversity positively influences individual team members’ creativity and the overall team performance in solving complex tasks. Different perspectives, understanding of problems and possible solutions make interactions within the team more efficient. Cognitive diversity enables the team to fully understand the problem, approach it and create the right solution.
Furthermore, we have to remember that diversity of approaches and opinions can cause more conflicts and misunderstandings. That’s why all team members should be aware of their cognitive strengths and weaknesses. They have to learn how to use them to communicate and cooperate effectively with their colleagues.
How can we recognize cognitive diversity in the team?
Carl Jung discovered and explained how our cognitive functions influence the way we perceive reality, process information and make decisions. As the first one, he introduced and described individual styles of cognitive recognition, reflects by different set of cognitive characteristics. Every person has its own cognitive style which interacts with the dynamics of the team and stage of projects.
While creating GenieTeams, we have also utilised Carls’ Jung theory and a number of research and models that help us to understand how individuals act and perform in a complex business environment.
4 types presented below help you to understand how different team members can contribute to the team success. In adition, using GenieTeams platform you can check how your individual cognitive style can influence your work and what is the cognitive structure of your team.
How can different individuals contribute to the innovation process?
In GenieTeams, we have distinguished 4 roles (set of cognitive characteristics) that individuals can play with the view to the innovation process.
Challenger – detail-oriented, organised and disciplined, works well within established structures, rules and policies. As a result, challenger always finishes tasks on time or before a deadline. You might not have considered these team members as highly innovative. Their accuracy and ability to spot faults, flaws and other details might put them at the very start of an innovation process.
Converter doesn’t produce a lot of creative ideas but they can take an abstract idea and turn it into a new product or service. Converter likes to translate very abstract ideas into concrete actions and fix things by himself.
Conceptualizer is exactly this team member, that is traditionally labelled as “innovative” and “creative”. In fact, he enjoys challenging existing assumptions and systems and is likely to suggest disruptive innovations. Conceptualizers are also skilled at reframing problems to inspire people and look at things from various perspectives.
Commercializer is the one who transforms ideas into reality, including the development of new products or work processes, testing and modifying them. Commercializer is highly confident that the change can be really implanted and he knows how to get the things done.
In conclusion, every team leader should make sure that employees understand and use their cognitive strengths in their work. They should also create a sense of psychological safety to encourage people to reveal and deploy their different modes of thinking.