As a leader, how can you encourage collaboration across your school, college or network?
Integrating the perspectives and capabilities of lots of people in diverse and ‘virtual’ (geographically dispersed) teams is not easy. Here are three tips to help you promote innovation:
1. Offer a compelling but adaptable vision
A dynamic vision provides room for participants to help shape it as the work unfolds.
For leaders, this means managing tension between clarity of purpose and shifting goals. Be clear about the project’s values while explaining, inviting input into, and celebrating the vision as it shifts.
When uncertainty is high, many, if not most, early experiments will fail, but failures are rich in lessons”
2. Create psychologically safe spaces for sharing expertise and values
Clashing cultural values can undermine collaboration. Leaders must help diverse experts share goals, insights and values.
You can frame cultural differences as a source of strength. Tensions between fields point to areas for focused innovation efforts, which starts with mutual understanding.
3. Promote small, experimental action
Because no daring innovation project has a blueprint, leaders must promote small, fast actions to test and develop emerging ideas, that embrace an experimental mindset and method.
When uncertainty is high, many, if not most, early experiments will fail, but failures are rich in lessons. They’re also unavoidable in any innovation process.
Given this, leaders must help people cope with the contradictory demands of envisioning an audacious future while engaging in small, imperfect action in the present.
Together, these leadership practices are useful in any kind of innovation project; they’re vital to success and to building the future.