People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 18

from James Surowiecki, demands a range of perspectives-
team members see things that others don't-as well as a broad
set of specialized skills and local knowledge.5 Individual team
members need to think with enough independence to actively
bring these "building blocks" to the table and keep in the fray
until the best of their perspectives have been incorporated,
addressed, or thoughtfully set aside. These inputs then can be
integrated or (more frequently) transformed to yield a solution that none of the members of the team could see when
the work began.
There are three basic ways to design for this critical and
sometimes seemingly ineffable work of synthesis.
* Leader as integrator: In this model, it is fundamentally
the work of the leader to bring together a multitude of inputs into one big advance. The leader, in this conception,
is like the conductor of an orchestra: unable to achieve
the goal without the musicians, but playing the role of the
master integrator.
* Schema as integrator: In this model, there's a schema for
the work that guides the group to integrate in the right
ways at critical moments. In this conception, the group relies on the process to do the "weaving," rather than on any
one individual. Design sprints are one common example
of this kind of schema.
* Compounding iteration: In this model, the team works
through many, many iterative loops. Knowing that no loop
can be relied upon to drive the required magnitude of
progress, the team relies upon the high compound probability of a big advance over many attempts.

Ignition teams must apply a bias
for action to unlock discoveries
that bring the team closer to
achievements.
Integration efforts need to be balanced with the avoidance
of groupthink. Frequently, the best way to ensure that the
team avoids converging too easily on a flawed solution is to encourage criticism, fact-based perspectives, and dissent. Again,
this could be either the role of a leader or built into a process
with specific roles (e.g., "red teaming"). It may seem that ignition teams are already confronted with challenges too great
to allow for much internal dissent. But testing and sharpening
the concepts is actually the cheapest and fastest way to avoid
much bigger mistakes.
In our work with a leading foundation tackling U.S. youth
unemployment by bringing employers to the table as partners
and problem-solvers, we integrated the foundation's deep
understanding of the problem space with a view of the diverse
challenges their grantees were facing on the ground. This
ground-level, "through the eyes of a grantee" view helped us
constructively challenge the operational feasibility of early
proposed solutions. Initially, this form of challenge increased
differentiation and divergence on the team. Over time, however, we succeeded in building a deep, shared understanding
18

PEOPLE + STRATEGY

that created clarity about the best path forward, avoiding a set
of costly investments that would have been unlikely to lead to
our desired outcome.

3. Bias for Action, but Room for Reflection

The goals of an ignition team live beyond the specific paths
of action its team members can visualize at the outset of the
journey. That means that ignition teams can't plan their way
to success. Instead, they must apply a bias for action, taking
steps to unlock discoveries-new insights, new capabilities,
new or transformed relationships-that bring the team closer
to achievements previously out of reach. The bias for action
is crucial as ignition teams navigate this white space, largely
driven by their own momentum.
However, while intense focus on the best next action now is
essential, it isn't sufficient. Just as much, ignition teams need
a discipline of frequent reflection to confront the big gap
between their current trajectory of progress and what the goal
requires. Confronting this gap openly and directly leads both
to decisions about the best available actions to advance the
ball-even if those actions likely aren't good enough-and to
focused, alert receptivity to the serendipitous connections and
insights that might enable a breakthrough.
Good teams balance these two modes: iterating deliberately
to make advances, working session by working session, and
getting as specific as we can about where we're stuck or need
new insights in a way that maximizes the likelihood we'll see
things that we don't know exactly how to look for. Holding
each of these modes in balance drives consistent "local progress" toward the bigger goal.
At Incandescent, we frequently break down the path
toward a major strategic goal into a set of eras, each of which
has its own internal logic. At the outset, the eras beyond
the current one will look somewhat vague, serving mostly as
conceptual placeholders. Yet, they allow us to usefully break
down a faraway goal into a set of actions that can be pursued
immediately, in pursuit of objectives which are already within
reach, while remaining cognizant of the future eras that will
need to be reached.
One of the ventures in our portfolio has built a platform
technology that promises to change how people experience
information on the screens they use in their living rooms, in
their offices, and out in the world. A technical milestone in
the development of cloud computing created an opening for
the small team spearheading the development of this company (a combination of the technical founder and a set of outside advisors and investors) to accelerate the work of forming
the partnerships required to compete as a "David" in a space
dominated by "Goliaths." Seizing the window of opportunity
required a rapid back and forth between making the most
of the opportunities this core team could generate, both to
make progress and to surface clues about what it would take
to break through ("bias for action") and assembling a realistic, often sobering picture of what would truly be required, in
terms of partnerships, capital, talent, and so on to compete at
the level required ("bias for reflection").
Over a few months, these two perspectives converged, and
the venture was able to ink strategic investment from one of



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2

From the Executive Editor
From the Guest Editor
Perspectives
Ignition Teams: Rising to the Challenges of Innovation
Challenge Accepted: Managing Polarities to Enhance Virtual Team Effectiveness
Facilitating Trust and Communication in Virtual Teams
Building Entrepreneurial Teams: Talent, Social Capital, and Culture
Organizations That Get Teamwork Right
Team Development: The Power of Debriefing
The Rise of Digital Team Building
Executive Roundtable
In First Person
Linking Theory + Practice
Insight into Action
Leadership Insights
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Cover1
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Cover2
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 1
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 2
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 3
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - From the Executive Editor
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 5
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - From the Guest Editor
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 7
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Perspectives
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 9
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 10
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 11
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 12
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 13
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 14
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 15
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Ignition Teams: Rising to the Challenges of Innovation
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 17
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 18
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 19
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 20
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 21
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Challenge Accepted: Managing Polarities to Enhance Virtual Team Effectiveness
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 23
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 24
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 25
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 26
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 27
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 28
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 29
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Facilitating Trust and Communication in Virtual Teams
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 31
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 32
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 33
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 34
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 35
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Building Entrepreneurial Teams: Talent, Social Capital, and Culture
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 37
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 38
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 39
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 40
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 41
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Organizations That Get Teamwork Right
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 43
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 44
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 45
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Team Development: The Power of Debriefing
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 47
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 48
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 49
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 50
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 51
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - The Rise of Digital Team Building
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 53
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 54
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 55
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Executive Roundtable
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 57
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 58
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 59
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 60
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 61
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - In First Person
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 63
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 64
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 65
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Linking Theory + Practice
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 67
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 68
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 69
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Insight into Action
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 71
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Leadership Insights
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 73
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 74
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Cover3
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Cover4
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