employees resist sharing new ideas with teams

Employees often develop innovative ideas alone even though this is less successful than teamwork, according to new research. So why would employees resist sharing new ideas with colleagues, even if it means failure?

The research from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) examined the innovation database of a large energy company containing 2,532 ideas submitted over 12 years.
They found that developing an idea in a team – even a tiny team of two – increased the likelihood of it being adopted by the company by at least three times.

However, employees who generate ideas consider the pros and cons of teamwork carefully – including sharing potential rewards – often choosing to continue alone despite a reduced chance of success.

Researcher Dirk Deichmann says:

Our research suggested that when people come up with radical ideas, they are more willing to work in a team to ensure access to more resources, knowledge and skills. For less radical ideas, people are more likely to develop them alone because working in teams means increased co-ordination and more effort, which is a disadvantage. However, this can be a costly mistake because working without a team decreases the likelihood of developing a successful idea – no matter what type of idea is being developed.

The researchers suggest that business should act as matchmakers for employees with innovative ideas. Deichmann says:

Business leaders should understand that working in teams increases the chances of success of an idea by at least three times – so they should be encouraging employees not to work alone when generating innovative plans, products, services or processes. They can even act as matchmakers by helping people to find others they naturally work well with and should be seen to reward teams as heartily as individuals.






Aphrodite is a creative writer and editor specialising in publishing and communications. She is passionate about undertaking projects in diverse sectors. She has written and edited copy for media as varied as social enterprise, art, fashion and education. She is at her most happy owning a project from its very conception, focusing on the client and project research in the first instance, and working closely with CEOs and Directors throughout the consultation process. Much of her work has focused on rebranding; messaging and tone of voice is one of her expertise, as is a distinctively unique writing style in my most of her creative projects. Her work is always driven by the versatility of language to galvanise image and to change perception, as it is by inspiring and being inspired by the wondrous diversity of people with whom paths she crosses cross!

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