06/04/2020 • 2 min read

How Tension and Conflict Can Inspire Innovation

Welcome diverse opinions for creativity

by Haworth, Inc.

Being around people who disagree with you is actually good for your creativity. And innovation often arises amid—or as a result of—tension and conflict.

In the new world of work, this is particularly relevant, Dr. Jeff DeGraff explained during Haworth Connect, which features engaging and inspiring speakers for our clients and community. Dr. DeGraff, an innovation expert, is an advisor to Fortune 500 companies, author, and a business professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.

“We're getting collaborative open-innovation networks. Companies aren't building things on their own anymore. Think about your new iPhone. It's built by a federation. Literally hundreds of companies are involved,” Dr. DeGraff said.

“Diverse communities are often home to creativity clusters that produce the most intellectual property, from artificial intelligence to augmented reality,” he added.

One group disrupting the status quo is young people. For the most part, they aren’t interested in adhering to their parents’ framework of social norms.

“Over half of births to women under the age of 30 are outside of marriage. Marriage is no longer normative. The more educated the woman is, the less likely she is to marry,” said DeGraff, adding that people under 30, in general, aren’t interested in accumulating money and material possessions. “They want to have impact and have meaning in their lives. They're a post-capitalist generation.”

Young people’s perspective is important because they are key to innovation economies.

“The notion is let's stop hating on people and start understanding why they develop this worldview. And let's stop with the, ‘Oh, eventually they'll be like us.’ No, they won't. It's a different game. If you're going to understand the new world of work, you have to understand this,” Dr. DeGraff said.

His advice? Assemble a collection of diverse perspectives that can create a shared vision.

“The people who love all the stuff you say are not very helpful to you. There's a person who's ‘up in your grill’ all the time, but really cares about you. They need to be on your team. You need to hear from the loyal opposition to engage in the conflict,” Dr. DeGraff said.

For more from Dr. DeGraff on innovation and the way we are working now, visit Haworth Connect to watch the video.


You May Also Like