By invoking the protective power of ‘Let me just play Devil’s Advocate for a minute…’, the speaker is now entirely free to take potshots at the idea with complete immunity. Essentially saying, ‘The Devil made me do it.’"
To combat the Devil's Advocate, Tom Kelly has described 10 alternate personas that could be adopted by innovation teams to protect and nurture fledgling ideas. We particularly like the Cross-Pollinator, but you can find the full list of personas at Ten Faces of Innovation
In our own work facilitating ideation sessions, we provide a shortcut to combating the Devil's Advocate, the Nerf Gun. During a period of divergence, anyone who evokes the Devil's Advocate persona, or generally responds to an idea with anything other than "Yes, and." is subject to being hit with a foam dart. Especially hilarious when its the COO or the Head of Surgery who momentarily forgets to defer judgment.
The Ten Faces of Innovation are divided into three categories: Learning, Organizing, and Building.
The Learning Personas Individuals and organizations need to constantly gather new sources of information in order to expand their knowledge and grow, so the first three personas are learning roles.
The Organizing Personas The next three personas are organizing roles, played by individuals who are savvy about the often counter-intuitive process of how organizations move ideas forward.
The Building Personas These four personas are building roles that apply insights from the learning roles and channel the empowerment from the organizing roles to make innovation happen.
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