Innovation is simply a useful novelty. The more unique the novelty, the more valuable the innovation is. Standardization is the opposite of innovation because it eliminates the variation required to produce this novelty. People fall into patterns of doing things the same way because it’s comfortable. To break this pattern, people and companies should seek out others who have different strengths and weaknesses.
To create innovative new products and services, companies require divergent points of view or constructive conflict. We call these worldviews. It is the positive tension created when opposing worldviews collide that produces hybrid solutions and new ways of doing things. An overemphasis on alignment and agreement stifles the ability of an organization to innovate. In my book and research, I highlight the importance of constructive conflict to produce innovation.
Here is a simple four-step framework to explain the ways different kinds of thinkers and leaders can create constructive conflict in any organization:
Companies need to create the space for innovation to break the stagnation. In general, innovative organizations are by nature uncomfortable. In fact, they do things to create positive tension. Consider how Pixar adds and subtracts key members of its development team throughout the production of a new film to create fresh ideas. The key is to establish an environmentwhere ideas are challenged, but not people. Respect is essential for these companies.
Here is a link to an interview podcast I did that talks about how to break patterns through constructive conflict.
Originally published on Quora.