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Integrating: Combining ideas

Creativity doesn’t just come from generating lots of ideas, it's also about being able to build on and combine ideas to create something new.

Creativity doesn’t just come from generating lots of ideas, it’s also about being able to build on and combine ideas to create something new.

The third skill within the integrating process is about combining ideas.

Combining ideas is often recognised as an important way of developing more creative or novel solutions.

Even if diverse teams can get all members to participate in generating ideas, they often struggle to build on and integrate these.

This is partly due to differences in how team members interpret and evaluate the task and new information.

Cultural differences also explain why some team members (eg those who are from individualistic cultures) may push their ideas more strongly than others (eg those from collectivist cultures or from high power distance cultures).

Teams can also fail to build on their differences if there is low motivation to work collaboratively on other peoples’ ideas. Ongoing conflict creates a more negative atmosphere in the team.

How do we combine ideas?

The processes of mapping, bridging and integrating help us to establish relationships and norms that support collaboration.

Teams should also make a conscious effort to encourage the exploration and creation of new ideas, building on initial ideas.

But we can aim higher than that.

Don’t just compromise on solutions – aim to invent new ideas and find solutions to issues or problems that are acceptable to all.

This determined approach can help to drive the group to come up with better, novel solutions and approaches.

Your task

Let’s revisit our case study team again.

Watch the new video and consider how successfully, or unsuccessfully, they have applied the three main skills of integrating:

  • Empowering participation
  • Resolving conflicts
  • Combining ideas.

Share your thoughts in the comments and discuss these with other learners.

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Leading Culturally Diverse Teams in the Workplace

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