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  • Writer's pictureAlejandro Buriel Rocha

Increase 95 times your profit and by over 900% the effectiveness of new business development.

The best way is by constant innovation and bringing in creative talent.

How to bring in creative talent?

When we talk about creativity and innovation, sometimes we try to make what is simple, extremely complicated. If we want to build innovative teams so that our organization and our teams become more creative we also have to start by attracting creative people.

Although many organizations already use assessment for hiring, leadership development, team-building, and executive coaching, it has not been extended much to hiring and building better innovation teams. Why does this even matter? It matters because innovation requires specific personality types, characteristics, and an environment that engenders psychological safety, to be unleashed. In select studies, innovation teams that leveraged personality types generated 95 times more profit and increased the speed as well as effectiveness of new business development by over 900% compared to their counterparts.

Assess New Hires for Creativity

To build a team of creative thinkers, you need to hire people who are open to new experiences and have resilience, emotional stability, flexibility, and empathy. During interviews with potential hires, ask questions that test for these traits. For example, you might ask the candidate to come up with multiple solutions to a problem, and then see if they are able to draw connections between those solutions to find a novel approach. If you want to test a candidate’s ability for empathy, ask them to create a persona for a new product, or have them tell a story about a day in the life of a potential customer to see whether they can take on someone else’s perspective. These exercises give you valuable clues as to how well the applicant can connect with others both emotionally and intellectually.

Additional specific questions to address empathy can be:

  • What do you do when someone comes to you with a problem?

  • Describe a time when you were in an argument or difficult situation and you changed how you saw the situation after understanding the other person’s perspective.

  • Talk about what each member on your team needs and how they feel.

The more insight, emotion, and knowledge the candidate has around questions like these the more empathic they are and hence the more innovative potential they possess.

Depending on which stage of an innovation process you are in, different personality types and qualities matter. While you need people with strong visionary mindsets to generate tons of creative ideas, you will need different personality types to actually turn those ideas into reality. That’s why you don’t want to blindly follow personality types; instead, foster diversity in personality types among your team. Here, involving other team members in the hiring process can help. It lowers the risk of hiring in your own image and bringing too many similar people on board which can deter innovation through homogeneity—something startup founders are often prone to do.

Google’s data from its Project Aristotle indicated that psychological safety was fundamentally more crucial to how well teams innovated than anything else. This is why, when you want your team to innovate, you have to make failing easy and reward taking risks— especially if you want your people to run at the hardest problems at full speed. Google’s moonshot factory X, for example, does this by celebrating the teams that kill their projects because they see failure as a success, which in turn creates psychological safety and encourages more risk-taking.

From “A Data-Driven Approach to Group Creativity,” by Bastian Bergmann and Joe Schaeppi

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