UACES Facebook Collective Genius reviewed by Rita Watson in October Leadership Lunch and Learn
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Collective Genius reviewed by Rita Watson in October Leadership Lunch and Learn

by Lisa Davis - October 30, 2023

Graphic-Collective Genius book coverThe October Leadership Lunch and Learn book review series was spearheaded by Rita Watson, program associate-virtual education, University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. She reviewed the book: Collective Genius: The Art and Practice of Leading Innovation written by Linda A. Hill, Greg Brandeau, Emily Truelove, and Kent Lineback.

Watch the recording here.

To summarize, the book explores the concept of leadership and innovation within organizations. It delves into the idea that true innovation is not the result of a single visionary genius but rather emerges from collaborative efforts within a group or a team.

The authors draw on extensive research and case studies from a variety of industries to illustrate how successful innovation is often driven by a collective genius, where diverse individuals come together to solve complex problems. They argue that fostering a culture of innovation requires leaders to create an environment where creativity and collaboration can flourish.

Watson highlighted the book’s framework of how leaders build innovation within an organization through 1) collaboration, 2) discovery-driven learning, and 3) integrative decision-making.

1) Collaboration

Watson said, “Innovative leaders create environments that draw out the elements of genius in each individual.”

Everyone in a collective genius has a voice, are considered equal and important. The leader is required to manage any tension and stress that can occur.

2) Discovery-Driven Learning

Discovery-driven learning is a process for a community to develop ideas, products, and strategies. She said it is a lengthy process in which leaders encourage learning through trial and error, false starts, mistakes, and missteps. Often the result is different than anyone ever anticipated.

Integrative Decision-Making

Watson defined integrative decision-making as combining option A with option B to get option C. Leaders must create an environment for the ideas to flow. She said the foundation of innovation is that leaders actively encourage keeping opposing options on the table as long as possible. This is critical because fruitful integration can only occur after people have devoted sufficient time to debating or testing options.

In summary, "Collective Genius" offers a compelling argument for the value of collective innovation and provides practical guidance for leaders on how to foster a culture of innovation within their organizations. It challenges the conventional notion of the solitary genius and instead champions the power of collaboration and leadership in driving successful innovation.

The LLL Book Review series features leadership experts from across the south. Each presenter reviews a leadership development book. The series gives you the opportunity to hear the cliff notes version of many popular leadership development books. Join us for future LLL book reviews.

Next Webinar

November 29, 2023 – Essentialism, reviewed by Dr. Lauren Griffeth, University of Georgia. Register here.