Too many cooks in the kitchen? 4 reasons to keep innovation teams small

Though innovation departments are expected to accomplish big goals, their teams don't need to be equally big — and, in fact, they shouldn't be, for reasons that go far beyond the obvious reduced costs and simplified management structure.

In an op-ed for Fast Company, tech entrepreneur Aytekin Tank posited that "when there are too many voices involved in decision-making, innovation goes out the door." He went on to outline four benefits of building a small innovation team of highly and widely skilled individuals:

1. Smaller teams see big picture solutions: Rather than filling out a team with a vast array of experts in their own very specific fields, Mr. Tank suggests that having a few Da Vinci-esque polymaths is "far more lucrative."

2. Smaller teams stay focused: The bigger the team, the greater the potential for power struggles, distractions, tangly bureaucracy and other derailing inefficiencies.

3. Smaller teams foster communication and transparency: Similarly, the bigger the team, the greater the opportunity for miscommunication and misunderstanding.

4. Smaller teams don't waste company resources: A smaller team means less overlap between individuals' responsibilities, ensuring the most efficient use of time and resources. "More importantly, each person can make a more significant impact because they aren't just another cog in the machine. As a result, they can bring their valuable skill sets to the forefront," Mr. Tank wrote.

More articles on innovation:
Northern Kentucky U launches healthcare innovation accelerator
Dr. Elizabeth Nabel: The medical innovation ecosystem is under attack
What healthcare can learn from Elon Musk's approach to innovation

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