Group Genius (quotes)

Sawyer, K. (2008). Group Genius: The Creative Power of Collaboration. Basic Books.

(Text to speech dictating/ refer to actual text for accuracy)

Part one: the collaborative team

The power of collaboration

The loan genius is a myth; instead, it’s group genius that generates breakthrough innovation.

  • Collaboration derives creativity because innovation always emerges from a series of Sparks – never a single flash of insight. Page 7
  • The secret understanding what makes a collaboration successful lies inside the box, and moment – two – moment interactional dynamics.
  • Interaction analysis, is a time – consuming method of analyzing verbal gestures, body language, and conversation during collaboration. Page 13

Seven key characteristics of effective creative teams: (Page 14-17)

  1. one innovation emerges overtime
  2.  Successful collaborative teams practice deep listening
  3. Team members build on their collaborators ideas
  4. Only afterwards does the meaning of each idea become clear
  5. Surprising questions emerge
  6. Innovation is inefficient
  7. innovation emerges from the bottom up
  • self managed teams don’t have clear-cut roles and responsibilities: “your team is your boss, because you don’t want to let them down,” one employee said. “Everyone’s your boss, and no one’s your boss.” Page 18

Improvising innovation

  • After decades of disaster research, we know that improvisational groups are often the fastest and most efficient in the uncertain and rapidly changing conditions caused by natural disaster. Page 23
  • Script – think: the tendency to think that events are more predictable than they really are. Page 23
  • The paradox is that innovation can’t be planned, it can’t be predicted; it has to be allowed to emerge. Page 25
  • When people improvise together, they develop innovative responses to unexpected events even though no one is consciously aware of exactly what the group is doing or why it works. Page 28
  • And the children sessions, planning, negotiation, and collaboration all merged together and playful improvisation. They started “the game” almost right away, and that only a couple of rules had to be decided. Most of their game – designing negotiation occurred while they were playing; on average, only one – third of their game negotiations happened before they started playing. Once the children started playing, they didn’t faithfully follow the rules they negotiated an event; they embellish and modify those rules all along the way. Page 30
  • Innovation often happened unofficially below the radar of senior management, through three types of improvisational processes. In the first, a new business process was improvised. Page 32

Improvisational innovation is particularly critical when companies are migrating from one product generation to the next, because it allows the company to move forward with the new product and not let problems with the old product in the way. Page 33

  • The leader of a collaborative team couldn’t be more different; this leader has to establish creative spaces within which group genius is more likely to happen…instead, liters of innovative groups are active participants in the work; they function more like a peer than a boss. Page 34

From Groupthink to Group Genius

  • Basketball is one of the most improvised and team – oriented all sports, the sports equipment of group genius. And pick up games, everything that slows down the professional game has been taken away. Page 40
  • Extremely creative people are at their peak when they’re experiencing “a unified flowing from one moment to the next, in which we feel in control of our actions, and which there is little distinction between self and environment; between stimulus and response; or between past, present, and future.” Page 42
  • People are more likely to get into flow in their environment has four important characteristics. First, and most important you’re doing something where their skills match the challenge of the task… Second, flow occurs when the goal is clear; and third when there’s constant an immediate feedback about how close you are to achieving that goal. Fourth, flow occurs when you’re free to concentrate fully on the task. Page 42

Conversation leads to flow, and flow leads to creativity. Page 34

  • Improvising groups attain a collective state of mind that I called group flow. Good flow is a peak experience, a group performing at its top level of ability. Page 43
  • Genius groups tend to emerge in context or 10 key flow enabling conditions are found. (Page 44 to 56)
  1. The groups goal
  2. Close listening
  3. Complete concentration
  4. Being in control
  5. Blending egos
  6. Equal participation
  7. Familiarity
  8. Communication
  9. Moving it forward
  10. The potential for failure
  • Group flow tends to fade in the presence of strict, high – pressure deadlines. Page 47
  • In general, marketing and engineering saw the benefit of improvisation but financial and manufacturing side as a source of potential and efficiency in error. Page 48
  • Group flow is blocked if anyone skill level is below that of the rest of the groups members; almost have comparable  skill levels. Page 50
  • Problem – finding groups or more likely to be in group flow when there’s more diversity; problem-solving groups are often more effective when more tacit knowledge is shared. Page 53
  • Group flow requires constant communication. 53
  • Engage and deliberate practice – as they’re doing a task, they’re constantly thinking about how they could be doing it better, and looking for lessons they can use next time. Page 55
  • And the global war for talent, organizations that need to innovate can’t afford to let good improvisers go; they need to create the condition for a great flow and allow group genius to thrive. Page 57

Part II: The Collaborative Mind

Small Sparks

  • Psychologists have discovered that creative sparks are always embedded in a collaborative process, with five basic stages: (p81)
    1. Preparation
    2. Time off
    3. The spark
    4. Selection
    5. Elaboration
  • The Gestalt psychologist were known for their theory that some thoughts and perceptions can’t be understood by and analyzing their individual components but have to be understood as complex wholes. p85
  • Fixation, incubation, breakthrough. Page 86
  • For the algebra and trivia problems, it turned out the subject felt warmer and warmer right up to the solution; but for the insight problems, they kept feeling cold until, suddenly, they found the solution. p87
  • Weisberg and Alba’s study suggested that people are more creative later if, instead of just being told the answer, they actually solved a similar problem themselves. p89
  • Confabulation; people have no trouble coming up with explanations for their behavior after the fact. They believe they had a solitary inside, but the real story is that a social encounter was responsible for the idea. p93
  • This phenomenon, in which earlier stimulus causes related concepts and memories to be more readily accessible to consciousness, is called priming. p93
  • The myth that inciting merges suddenly unpredictably prices because most people are consciously aware of the social and collaborative encounters that lead to their insights.
  • People who can do this faster than others have a more intricate network in their minds that allows them to make connections between ideas that are further apart. p95
  • Your mind is always working closer to a solution, even when you feel blocked. p96
  • Collaboration over Time

  • The sheer productivity of a person – the raw output a creative products – is correlated with the creative success with that person. p108
  • For every day mental processes that are at the core of creativity: conceptual transfer, conceptual combination, conceptual elaboration, and can concept creation.
  • Ideas – those that last, and those that are later replaced – often come from conceptual transfer, also known as a analogical thinking. p111
  • emergent attributes, attributes that are not sure either bass concept. p114
  • The further part two concepts are, the more likely it is that a truly creative idea will result.

  • Property mapping, just one value is taken from one concept and merged with the second concept. p115
  • Structure mapping, in which the complex structure of one concept is used to restructure the second concept. p115
  • Conceptual elaboration – taking an existing concept and modifying it to create something new. p116
  • Morphological analysis, consider changing all properties and values. p119
  • Psychologist have shown that by using a fourth cognitive process that brings sparks together, everyone can create new concepts.

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