Innovation: the Brain Child of Communication and Lateral Thinking

Tact is the knack of making a point without making an enemy” Isaac Newton

Communication skills trainingWouldn’t it be lovely if all the innovators could jointly work together to achieve a spectrum of advancements that would enhance life as we know it? Why can’t they employ their immense lateral thinking skills (i.e. ability to think outside the box) and help each other solve problems and move their projects forward? Often the great barrier of creative reason is lack of effective communication, communication that ultimately takes human emotions into account.

The easiest way for a conversation to fail is to show an unforgivable lack of tact. Arguably tactlessness arises when one or both of the communicators is not tuned in to the emotional frequency of the other. For communication to be effective and for a lateral thinking project to work, people must not only actively listen to the other participants, but must listen empathetically. Emotions govern humans as much as reason—and often more. Therefore, acknowledging the emotional side of collaboration is the first step to promoting positive communication which will, in turn, support innovation.

Why Listen Emotionally, Why Worry about Tact?

Groups working on a problem using lateral thinking techniques may, necessarily, experience considerable disagreement. This disagreement is vital to finally touching on the agreed upon solution. Yet all that prior disagreement can lead to tension, disappointment, and even anger - all emotional responses. Without taking the emotional costs into account, the communication platform can falter and even break down. When you moderate and participate with empathetic listening, you promote an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect that allows you to move beyond disagreement to better weigh all concerns of the issue at hand.

Infusing Empathetic Listening into Your Discussion

Listening with empathy may, at times, seem like a form of self-discipline; however, with practice it may begin to come naturally to you and you’re likely to rely on it greatly once you witness its benefits for inspiring teamwork. To listen empathetically, you should:

  • be willing to let others have an equal share in the conversation
  • listen whole-heartedly to others• show sensitivity for emotions represented
  • avoid interruption
  • acknowledge the emotions and information presented by others

Listening with empathy is difficult—if it were easy, the world would arguably be a different place. Yet it can be the driving force behind a successful collaboration and often is. When you are completely tuned in to someone else, they feel the attentiveness and realize on a basic level that communication is possible. Good communication provides the foundation for a successful lateral thinking project; it nurtures every participant so they can share their ideas in an atmosphere that feels intrinsically safe and welcoming.


Credit : http://www.loyaltyandretention.com


Opened by Antoine Fournier, Head of ECM, Input and Output management, Zurich Insurance
Oct 9, 2013.

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Jesse Domingo Leadership Adviser, Strategist
Oct 17, 2013

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With good communication comes...

...the cultivation of ideas;
...cooperation and collaboration;
...solutions and possible breakthroughs.

Empathy is key to being not only a good Leader, but a citizen of this planet worthy of respect.

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