As part of the group assignment, the five members discussed various insights from the article ‘4 Ways to Build an Innovative Team’ as it relates to the engineering design process. Group member one researched the importance of empowering the innovative team, noting that senior managers should strive to create a working environment where the team members can thrive (Satell 1). This group member reported that innovative teams in engineering design function most effectively in structured environments, especially where they are empowered in decision-making. Innovative teams mandated with identifying engineering design solutions should have empowered individual members who are able to use their creative and analytical skills, while also applying their specialized working practices (Ferri-Reed 21).
Group member two researched the importance of hiring for mission in building an innovative team in engineering design. According to Satell (p. 1), an important step in building innovative teams is recruiting team members who are interested in the engineering problem that requires a solution. This group member reported that research showed hiring employees whose skill set and motivation is aligned with the mission, results in improved productivity, along with enhanced quality in the engineering product. Further, the member also reported that hiring for mission ensures an efficient and profitable operation since it is the only time when the managers can identify individuals with the aptitude, experience, and motivation to perform the tasks required of them. Perhaps more importantly, this group member also reported that hiring individuals who endorse the project’s value and importance improves the outcomes of the engineering design process (Ferri-Reed 21).
Group member three in turn covered the second strategy of building an innovative team, which is promoting psychological safety. This member noted Satell’s (p. 1) emphasis on the importance of psychological safety to team performance, especially with regard to allowing all team members the chance to voice their ideas with no fear. Indeed, the member noted that further research on psychological safety’s importance showed that engineering projects should be built around motivated employees who have the support and trust required to solve the engineering problem at hand. Moreover, a psychologically safe environment enables employees to speak their minds, share their thoughts, take appropriate risk, and raise concerns without fear of victimization; thus improving the engineering design process outcomes (Chen et al. 1019).
Group member four, on the other hand, dealt with the importance of creating diversity within the engineering design team to improve innovativeness. In this case, the managers should create a team in which people with different viewpoints challenge members’ perspectives. According to this group member, engineering design teams may apply individual creativity-diversity methods to generate more innovative ideas. Diverse teams, the member added, provide a broader range of perspectives and knowledge that can be used by the rest of the team to build on emerging ideas. Furthermore, the engineering design team should consist of individuals with diverse experience, knowledge, education, and background in order to improve the team’s range of networks from which solutions may be drawn (Chen et al. 1019).
Finally, group member five provided insight on the fourth strategy of building an innovative team, in this case the valuing of teamwork. From the article, this group member pointed out that the best innovators are embedded in networks so as to access elusive insights that provide solutions to difficult engineering design problems (Satell 1). In addition, this member also pointed out that teamwork was critical at all engineering design stages so that all team members work on concise and clear instrutions from senior management with minimal conflict. Teamwork also allows for openness to discussion of challenges arising from the engineering instructions in a constructive and helpful manner (Chen et al. 1020).
- Chen, Gilad, Jiing-Lih Farh, Elizabeth M. Campbell-Bush, Zhiming Wu, and Xin Wu. “Teams as innovative systems: Multilevel motivational antecedents of innovation in R&D teams.” Journal of Applied Psychology 98.6 (2013): 1018-1027. Print.
- Ferri-Reed, Jan. “Building innovative multi-generational teams.” The Journal for Quality and Participation 37.3 (2014): 20-29. Print.
- Satell, Greg. 4 Ways to Build an Innovative Team. 13 February 2018. 16 February 2018 https://hbr.org/2018/02/4-ways-to-build-an-innovative-team