Five routes to more innovative problem solving

Teams of smart people from different backgrounds are more likely to come up with fresh ideas more quickly than individuals or like-minded groups do (Lu Hong and Scott Page, “Groups of diverse problem solvers can outperform groups of high-ability problem solvers,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2004, Volume 101, pp. 16385–89). But according to this article five problem-solving languages, which they call flexons, help users understand the behavior of individuals, teams, groups, firms, markets, institutions, and whole societies and therefore do not require a diverse team of problem-solvers. People need only a basic familiarity with the different approaches to reframe problems and generate more innovative solutions. To start that process, and stimulate novel thinking, leaders should look through multiple lenses. For examples of insights that come out of the use of these 5 problem-solving languages read the full McKinsey Quarterly article.