Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Paradoxical frame advances team innovation

New evidence shows that improvements in team creativity and innovation can emerge from embracing contradictory demands and from tackling conflicting goals at the same time.
Paradoxical frame advances team innovation
Creativity and innovation are very often the products of teamwork, particularly in company settings. Yet most teams fail to realize their innovative potential, in part because doing so requires them to pursue and integrate multiple inconsistent, perspectives, goals, processes, and outcomes. To be creative and innovative, teams need to be diverse and cohesive, passionate and disciplined, promote personal initiatives while coalescing around a shared vision, and encourage members to break the rules, while also adhering to boundaries and constraints.

The EU-funded TEAM INNOVATION (Developing Innovative Capabilities in Teams) project investigated the mechanisms, processes and conditions that facilitate teamwork and that are necessary for integrating conflicting perspectives and for managing competing demands.

To achieve its aims, the project studied the effect of a paradoxical frame, i.e. a mental template that recognizes and embraces contradictory elements simultaneously. It also looked at how teams can be creative while respecting cost and time constraints. Another important angle examined is the effect of different managerial approaches in managing conflicting tasks and goals.

Overall, TEAM INNOVATION found that adopting a shared paradoxical frame improves a team’s ability to develop creative products that are both original and feasible compared to other frames. This encourages the development of creative products without compromising deadlines and without overextending costs.

TEAM INNOVATION also compared various approaches to manage contradictory goals and found that tackling two competing goals simultaneously encourages creativity more than completing one goal and then the other. It found that focusing on both at the same time yields synergistic benefits.

These findings can ultimately advance business and industry, promoting competitiveness and innovation in new ways. Corporations in Europe which value collaboration and teamwork would do well to adopt these findings.

Related information


Teamwork, creativity, innovation, paradox, competitiveness, industry
Record Number: 182843 / Last updated on: 2016-05-31
Domain: Industrial Technologies
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