April 10, 2018

Diversity in Scrum Teams Boosts Innovation

Teams with high diversity are more innovative. They have more perspectives that create a higher rate of idea flow. More new ideas are generated that lead to new products and innovations than in homogeneous teams. 

What is innovation?

Innovations are the steps that lead to improved products.

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These vehicles are displayed in the Porsche Museum and show the innovations occur in cars development over the years.

New ideas only lead to innovation, if they are placed to the market in form of a product or a service. In the end the innovation may only be called successful, if it generates value for the customer. We need valuable innovations.

 

Why do we need innovation?

Companies need innovation in products and services as a competitive advantage. Our world is VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) and change occurs fast. As Daniel Pink shows in "Drive", the motivation in people and teams does not come from earning more money, but from autonomy, mastery and purpose. The strongest purpose comes from making the world a better place. In times where humanity faces challenges in mobility, ecology, energy and other issues, companies who alien their purpose with world purpose will have motivated people and teams. Teslas Elon Musk is one of the great entrepreneurs of our times to embrace this.

 

How do diverse teams add to innovation?

Software and most other products, like cars, are delivered globally. Diverse teams have more perspectives and easier get into the shoes of their customers. They know what means value to their users or customers in varieties of cultures, gender and nations. Their variety of perspectives give rise to more ideas that end up in innovations. 

 

Why are diverse teams more innovative?

In many studies is shown that the benefit of diversity has its price. Diversity feels less comfortable, but if barriers are overcome this leads to innovation. To overcome these obstacles, teams have to gain emotional maturity, foster openness and go to the other side of conflict. Organizing teams is a strength of Scrum. The Scrum Master mediates conflicts. The communication structure with its events gives a word to every team member. Retrospectives improve the process. Participative leadership is the core of self-organizing teams.

 

Links

VUCA - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jd4tq_mwlM

Drive - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc

Diverse teams feel less comfortable - https://hbr.org/2016/09/diverse-teams-feel-less-comfortable-and-thats-why-they-perform-better

https://www.scrum.org/resources/7-strengths-highly-diverse-agile-teams