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Building Innovation Teams

A large homebuilding company wanted to improve its organization’s innovation process.  The CEO had been exposed to the Online Team Dimensions Profile during a presentation and wanted to introduce the Z-process to the company’s executives.

The company wanted to figure out how to build houses faster to increase their profitability.  Management wanted to create innovation teams in order to brainstorm new initiatives, but they needed to learn how to follow through on the innovation process – not just come up with great ideas that never got started.  The division presidents and their staffs had to learn how to implement a process for innovation.

The Team Dimensions Profile was used to introduce the Z-process for innovation.  Participants learned through activities about the problems created by team imbalance.  There was also a discussion on how to strive for balanced innovation teams in their organization.

The participants completed the Online Team Dimensions Profile in advance, which allowed the facilitator to setup small groups before the seminar.  Some balanced teams (in terms of the four roles – Creator, Advancer, Refiner, and Executor) and some unbalanced teams were purposely created.  This group activity was a great way to start the session, and led to a discussion about the impact of unbalanced teams.

The organization had a full-day seminar on the Team Dimensions Profile.  The groups were asked to brainstorm for 30 minutes ways that their organization could build homes faster – their ultimate goal.  Within the 30-minute timeframe, the groups needed to brainstorm ideas, choose the best one, and then develop a plan for implementation. 

The activity covered the Creator and Advancer portions of the Team Dimensions Profile Z-process.  At the end of the activity, each group reported their results to the rest of the group. In this instance, one of the small groups had only Creators, and true to form, they spent nearly 30 minutes brainstorming ideas!  Another team didn’t have a Creator and couldn’t even get started.

The best part of this activity was that none of the groups knew that some of the teams were unbalanced.

After the activity, there was a debriefing on what happened and what the participants had learned.  By this point, the power of the Team Dimensions Profile had been demonstrated, so the participants were given their completed reports to review. 

The group spent two hours discussing how roles work in a team, and they reflected on the role they played in the brainstorming activity, especially since participants with high Refining or Executing powers didn’t have the opportunity to use their strongest talents.

The seminar was first conducted for the senior executives and was then introduced to their divisions.  The company reduced the amount of time it took to build a home by half.  The Team Dimensions Profile can’t claim all the credit, but the results were made possible through the ideas the employees developed for creating more effective teams. 

Every time the organization acquires a new company, they have their new employees complete the Team Dimensions Profile to ensure they capitalize on the natural strengths and talents of each individual.


Inscape Publishing Case Study