Episode 46 – Dr. Keith Sawyer – How To Access Group Genius And Collective Flow

Many teams struggle with burnout, belonging, and breakthrough innovation. Silos, matrix reporting and disconnection get in the way of results. What if we could navigate some of our most important collective challenges by accessing collective flow? I sat down with Dr. Keith Sawyer, author of Group Genius, who is a pre-eminent researcher on this topic and worked directly with the “father of flow”, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

Dr. Keith Sawyer, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is one of the country’s leading scientific experts on creativity. He has published 18 books and over 100 scientific articles. His research has been featured on CNN, Fox News, TIME Magazine, NPR, and other media. A popular speaker, he lectures to corporations, associations, and universities around the world on creativity and innovation.

In this episode, Keith discussed some of the most important activators of group flow based on his own experience playing in a jazz band as well as extensive study of improv actors and large teams and organizations that regularly create conditions for group flow. Some of the activators include meaningful shared goals and risks, close listening and attention, trust and connection among the members, blending of ego’s and giving up personal agendas. We discussed both the benefits and the challenges of this in leadership teams.

If this topic interests you, reach out as collective flow is the topic of my next book and I’m interested in working with leaders and teams who have high stakes challenges that need breakthrough thinking and alignment.

“The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times . . . The best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile”

(Csikszentmihalyi, 1990)

Below is a lightly edited version of the transcript. To listen to any part of the conversation, scroll down and click that part of the transcript. To stop listening, scroll to the end and press the stop button on the player.

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