Many brains are better than one: using diversity of thought to problem-solve

Groupthink is a dangerous thing.

When team members all step into automatic agreement on the safest, easiest strategies to move a project forward, they tend to make uncreative decisions that aren’t in the organization’s best interest, and may ignore potential pitfalls if no one raises alarm bells.

For example, think of the much-maligned Kylie Jenner Pepsi ad, which was widely criticized for trivializing and exploiting the racial justice movement. The ad was produced by Pepsi’s in-house creative agency, illustrating the dangers of failing to seek outside perspectives and feedback before bringing a product to launch.

In order to make the best decisions for your brand and spark innovation within the organization, it’s important to get your team out of their echo chamber and encourage collaboration with other teams and external collaborators who can bring divergent ideas and diverse perspectives to the forefront. Here are some strategies for doing that well:

Create a culture of collaboration

In order to make sure that all viewpoints are honored and explored, it’s important to build a company culture in which all team members, regardless of level or division, are encouraged to give feedback to the rest of the team. That means not just sharing their own ideas, but being unafraid to question assumptions that others have made. Make it part of your company DNA that employees are encouraged to explore ideas from all perspectives and bring up out-of-the-box ideas. All solutions will be evaluated based on the ability to serve the core need.

Build a virtual tool for cross-team collaboration

While a culture of collaboration is key for bringing in different perspectives, your organization needs the structure in place to facilitate it. Meetings will typically only involve one team, so they’re not ideal for cross-team collaboration. In order to bring in multiple divisions and external contributors, consider implementing a knowledge-sharing platform where all contributors are welcome to ask questions and provide answers or additional context on existing questions. Each thread’s top answers will be voted on, ensuring that the most useful responses are always spotlighted first. Responses can build on one another, encouraging collaboration between teams within the platform itself. And employees can search through existing threads to get instant access to a diverse range of perspectives on any issue to bring to their own teammates as they plan their projects.

By making open and collaborative conversations a key part of your organization, you can prevent groupthink and facilitate more creative and innovative thinking throughout your company.

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