To innovate successfully, it is essential to hire, work with, and promote people who are unlike you and make you uncomfortable. Organizations should create diverse teams with different skills, knowledge, and backgrounds. They can actively seek out dissenters who have countercultural views.
Two methods of promoting creative abrasion are:
- Hiring people who are opinionated and think differently
- Pairing people with opposing viewpoints
divergent pairs .takes it a step further by hiring in
When it comes to creativity, the best person for the job is often two people – people who see the world in utterly different ways.
— Jerry Hirshberg, Fast Company
A divergent pair can significantly improve the quality of each other’s thinking. The main prerequisite is that the people have a strong personality to withstand the pressure of the creative abrasion. Ben Horowitz BH Ben Horowitz and Marc Andreessen MA Marc Andreessen are a famously combative divergent pair. In The Hard Thing About Hard Things , Horowitz talks about his relationship with Andreessen, with whom he leads a venture capital firm. They reportedly fight like cats and dogs, but then forget about it.
“Most business relationships either become too tense to tolerate or not tense enough to be productive after a while. Either people challenge each other to the point where they don’t like each other or they become complacent about each other’s feedback and no longer benefit from the relationship. With Marc and me, even after 18 years, he upsets me almost every day by finding something wrong in my thinking, and I do the same for him. It works.
— Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things