People talk about innovation in all areas of activity. Whether they are working in the corporate environment, education, government and even small business.

And they all look at startups who prove to have a tremendous success innovating, disrupting existing industries or creating new ones.

The truth of the matter is though that there is no simple recipe to innovate, but there are a few patterns that can be observed.

And one of the most obvious things we notice when we look at startups, is that they operate in small teams.

Innovation happens in small teams because they can move with increased agility, pushing projects forward. Individual responsibility feels much stronger, and people feel motivated that their direct input is immediately incorporated. You get the feeling that you either give it 110% or things will not happen and in a small team you can hold each other responsible for your work. According to Jeff Gothelf,  teams should be small, collocated, dedicated and self sufficient.

The feeling of ownership and autonomy will boost the intrinsic motivation of the team members. And if the people in the team are smart and competent, they will seek out new possibilities and scenarios with a determination hard to replicate otherwise. The inner mechanisms of the self-determination theory should be mastered by top management in search for innovation.

It’s hard to innovate when you need to get stuff approved in committees or the chain of command is long and decisions are being made far from the team working on that project.

So, when you’re setting up a team that should work on a new project, remember that there is a reason why small startups can achieve so much with so few team members. Remember the 2 pizza rule that Jeff Bezos implemented at Amazon! He was saying that teams shouldn’t be larger than what two pizzas can feed.

I’ll talk more about innovation in the next posts, so if you want more of this, you can subscribe to get notified.

Categories: Innovation

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