How Can Your Groupthink Tendency Affect Innovation?
Groupthink is when people in a group have the same decisions and thinking to promote harmony and a common purpose. Groupthink is something that can be found in several workplaces and institutions. It is one of the most negative features an organization can possibly have, barring in cases where there’s much discontent, negative energy, and infighting within the group.
One of the worst effects of groupthink tendency is against the innovation in an organization. Some of the ways it hurts innovation are:
- If a single person comes up with a disruptive idea or thought, due to groupthink, none of the people speak in favor of it and thus it loses out without a proper discussion.
- There is no quality debate. The facts, research, are all sidelined in the process of aligning to the same side.
- Usually, they follow the words and opinions of one person in order to maintain the harmony. They switch off their brains in pursuit of fitting in with the organization.
- Innovation is about thinking, researching, and coming with hard facts in support of something new that could happen. If often involves plenty of failures and requires constant updates based on previous experiments and learning.l
- Innovation is about disruptive thinking and standing out of the crowd- the principles are exactly opposite to the main features of groupthink.
- Innovation wants you to think out of the box. Groupthink, on the other hand, wants you to stay within the boundaries of conventional thinking. It wants you to follow the majority.
- Innovation is about pushing the borders. Groupthink is about being within them.
- Innovation happens when everyone contributes individually and effectively. Groupthink is when everyone follows a leader.
- Groupthink dumbs down unique voices and ideas. Innovation requires each one of them to be heard, discussed and debated upon by the use of known facts or via new research.
There are ways to break groupthink and indulge in out of the box thinking. Some of the helpful ways for the same are:
- Trying to control politics within the organization. Politics has no place in a workplace and therefore must be strictly shunned out of the place.
- Debates should be encouraged. Quality debates based on facts and not fallacies must be encouraged which can help the people out of groupthink.
- Out of the box ideas should be rewarded. It will promote more innovative thinking and once the innovating thinking starts taking place, innovation isn’t far away.
- Leadership should be chosen on the basis of merit. Only those who could inspire should be chosen as team leaders or in positions of leadership or management.
Groupthink is a serious problem ailing plenty of modern day companies and start-ups. However, only the out-of-the-box and innovative ideas tend to have weightage in this competitive world. Therefore, in best interests of the organization, out of the box thinking is the fuel. Anything that borders or crosses the conventional entities must be encouraged and not looked down upon to promote innovation in an organization.