Training team creativity with Lego Serious Play: Upside and downside of team diversity
Keywords:Team creativity, personality, team diversity, commitment, team climate
We trained 40 teams using Lego Serious Play (LSP), a facilitated workshop method in which the aspects of visualization, commitment, fun and shared storytelling are used. LSP improves open and participatory communication, collaborative learning and intuitive imagination and reduced ‘free ridership’ in innovation teams; it was easier to achieve a ‘train of thought’ or ‘flow’ within a team. LSP is a promising creativity method, although its efficacy is influenced by conditions. Teams can enhance or disrupt creative performance. Different mindsets within creative teams may lead to a broader pallet of new perspectives in the ideation phase of innovation in which divergent thinking is important to explore novel viewpoints. However, diversity may lead to relationship conflicts in a team. We address the dilemma of achieving synergistic benefits from team diversity while managing negative interpersonal tensions between heterogeneous team members in relation to motivational aspects and team climate and summarize this in a significant three-path mediation model. We found a highly significant path with team performance of team diversity, commitment, and ‘voice’ (i.e. the extent to which team members are encouraged to express their views in the team). Team diversity has a potentially upside effect on creative performance, as well as a practical downside effect: it can be a source of interpersonal tension and intergroup biases and consequently less commitment leading to a less open team climate, resulting in lower team performance.