12 MDS 450: Teamwork and Innovation

Experience working with others is key to a successful challenge for MDS 450: Teamwork and Innovation. Being part of teams in different roles—both as a team member and as a leader—are important, as is a deep understanding of the way good teams are built through stages. Experience working on a team with people who bring different perspectives and expertise is also very helpful in articulating the goals of this course.

Further, the kind of work the teams did is key. Beyond just managing a task, successful challenges tell a story of a team thinking strategically and overcoming or creating something new. Having a good understanding of Innovation and articulating how your team came together and engaged in the process of innovation helps make a strong case for these challenges.

What this course is (and is not) about

It’s important that the portfolio reflect experience working with others, even others from very different mindsets, on a common issue. These teams don’t have to be in the workplace; they can be neighborhood associations, volunteer groups, mission trips, informal gatherings for a cause, or, yes, they can be teams in work environments: corporate, restaurant, academic, manufacturing, logistics, and many other organizations.

The course is about both Teamwork and Innovation; it’s not about being on a team that didn’t have to do anything new or different, nor is it about innovating by yourself. The best challenges can encompass both elements of the course.

Course Description

MDS 450: This course identifies the creative people, processes, and conditions necessary for fostering innovation and models of innovation including creative problem solving with teams. Students show understanding through demonstration of competency in identifying, describing, fostering, demonstrating and assessing programs that foster creativity and innovation in a team environment.

Course Objectives

After finishing the course, the successful student will be able to:

Identify components of high performing teams

  1. Explain the stages of team development
  2. Distinguish team development vs detrimental behaviors
  3. Discuss personal team experience
  4. Identify current team stage from personal example
Explain the influence of teams on creativity in organizations.

  1. Explain how organizations use teams
  2. Locate organizational examples of creative teams
  3. Review current best practices for driving innovation
Write personal development goals for advancing appropriate behaviors.

  1. Identify personal behaviors that diminish team unity
  2. Write 3 personal development goals to adjust behavior

Demonstrate Team Problem Solving Techniques.

  1. Review current best practices for team problem solving

Apply team innovation tools and techniques to a given situation

  1. Identify one tool or technique to apply
  2. In a small group, lead a team through the creative process

MDS 450 Demonstration of Learning Questions

  • Explain the difference between a work group and a work team. When should an organization use a team?
  • Tell me about the 4 stages of team development and explain emotional and behavioral characteristics of each stage. What are the potential pitfalls in each stage? How do you move to the next stage? Use personal examples.
  • Describe both developmental and detrimental behaviors of team members. Provide examples of your own behaviors that developed team unity and behaviors that were detrimental to team unity.
  • Explain how diversity affects team effectiveness.
  • Explain a best practice for providing performance feedback directly to a teammate that is not meeting expectations. This is peer to peer feedback, not leader to employee feedback. Provide one example where you delivered direct feedback to a non-performing team member and describe what you learned from that interaction.
  • Identify 2 examples of why a team member might stop participating. Explain what the team should do to bring that team member back into the fold.
  • What is the difference between creativity and innovation?
  • Explain the role of creativity in organizational success. What inhibits creativity at work? What promotes creativity? Describe one behavior you do that could inhibit team creativity and one that could promote team creativity.
  • Describe a Team Problem Solving tool. Provide a personal example of team problem solving and explain what you learned from that experience. Describe at least one thing you would do differently the next time you are problem solving as a team.
  • Describe 3 tools or techniques that a team can use to generate creative/innovative ideas.
    Describe a personal experience of a team creative process. What did you learn from that experience?


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