Innovative Thinking- Can it be done by a team?

Linux is named after Linus Torvalds, a Finnish programmer. Today Linux is one of the path breaking software which has been recognized all over the world. Linus Torvalds developed Linux all alone, but today since the source code is free to access and change, Linux goes on getting developed further by thousands of programmers working in groups or all alone. Here it was

the creativity of one brain which gave birth to a concept. This concept has been developed to its present form by groups of people spread all over, thanks to the Internet.


Innovative ideas do start in one mind before taking on the world. The radio, television, telephone, electric bulb etc. all were developed by genius scientists who had the ability and courage to think something different. It is a well known fact that Albert Einstein was the mastermind of the nuclear bombs which US dropped over Japan. It was Henry Ford who innovated the assembly line production of cars. It was after his success with the Model T that all other car companies copied him.


It may be argued that in the present world, all development takes place in the labs of huge companies by highly qualified technical staff. But once you pore deep into these teams, will you realize that there is an individual brain responsible for new innovations. It is true in the advertising industry. When a top creative leaves an agency, many clients follow suit with their accounts. David Ogilvy was king of advertising while alive. Today O&M runs on his name. Groups of people when working together have to deal with the whims and egos of each other. Some frequencies simply don’t match. An idea which may be innovative and mind blowing for one individual may be a truly rubbish concept for another. The members are then forced to compromise to more conventional and pedestrian stuff. We have well known examples from our daily life. Microsoft founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen took on IBM and soon became bigger than IBM. GE was the brain of Edison. Quite recently in the networked world, most new companies on the Internet, software arena are run by entrepreneurs. Venture Capitalists work on the same concept. They act as incubators- they fund an idea to make it a reality. Original and innovative thinking is revered all over.


The fact that people prefer to launch their own businesses and be their own bosses is due to the problems of working in groups or under pressure. Senior executives ignore creative ideas from juniors just because they are less experienced. Innovative thinking then suffers and comes down to a more conventional and acceptable level. It is noting these facts, that business houses all over are trying to have a more horizontal structure where juniors are given more encouragement and given more opportunities to contribute their thoughts.


The concept of the single person taking the final decision is age-old since the age of kings. It was the king or monarch who had the final say after consulting his council members, while today we have presidents and prime-ministers doing the same. Amazon started off with Jeff Bezos alone. Today it is called as the largest superstore on earth.


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