How to Create an Innovative Team

Hi, I’m Josh Barker, CEO of City Innovation Labs – a digital product innovation company.

I am here in beautiful Pennsylvania on a road trip doing a lot of innovation workshops.  We just finished one in Benton Harbor, MI with a large home appliance manufacturer, and it was a lot of fun.  Very smart people over there, doing a lot of cool things.

Today I wanted to talk about how to create an innovative team or company. I’ve been asked this question many times within all the various roles I’ve held in innovation: from an Director of Innovative Solutions at one of the Big 4 to a CTO of a Silicon Valley startup and to today at City Innovation Labs.

I usually laugh and say I’m still on this journey trying to figure this out for myself.  While I am still growing in my understanding of what best to do it, I have learned a lot that I can share.  A lot of what to do and what not to do.

Myth: Innovation is for Creative Geniuses

One thing I can definitely say with certainty is that innovative organizations and teams don’t just “magically” think up good ideas. It’s not that every innovative organization has a Steve Jobs-type sitting around coming up with the next iPhone, or a Jeff Bezos with the next Amazon.

Too many people put stock in “creative geniuses”, or in valuing good ideas alone vs. valuing and empowering their people to come up with good ideas.

Truth: Innovation starts with Good Leadership

The organizations that are really thriving in innovation are organizations that value building up good leadership and the role that they play in cultivating innovation in others.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be talking about how to create an innovative team and organization, through quick videos talking about the many different roles that innovative leaders take on. These principles are already being used and implemented at Google, Microsoft, Apple, and many other tech giants.

I hope you’ll follow me on this journey, and I’d love to hear your comments, questions, or the things you have learned in cultivating an innovative team. That’s it for now.  Talk to you all soon. God bless and I hope you all have a great day.

Recommended Readings on Myths of Innovation:

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