Most of us won’t recognize an innovative person in a group of people. Indeed, maybe you’ve worked for years alongside an innovative colleague without noticing him. Even more, you’re so used to his behavior and mannerisms that you have tagged him as “odd”, but manageable.
For that reason you have all along squandered an opportunity to lift your company out of mediocrity into competitiveness… Consequently, it’s very regressive indeed. But let’s have a look at innovative persons, how to recognize them, how to utilize them and how to keep them.
However, first we need to understand what innovation is…
What is innovation?
Simply defined, innovation is an invention with exploitation 1. After all, as innovation is the buzz word going around in (almost) every boardroom, we need to look at it from a business perspective. For example: “Innovation 2 is a process which involves the adoption of procedures or products which are perceived as being new by the adopter.” In fact, if a business is innovative, it’s one step ahead of the competitors and probably the darling of their industry’s customers…
Nevertheless, business owners and managers may enjoy the following advantages when they allow innovation to run its course in their companies (NiBusinessInfo):
- Improved productivity.
- Reduced costs.
- Increased competitiveness.
- Improved brand recognition and value.
- New partnerships and relationships; and
- Increased turnover and improved profitability.
And then, if the company takes care of its innovators, one of them may hand you the ‘one-in-a-million product or service’…But then you should have innovative persons working for you – or at least know who they are.
An innovative person
An innovative person is somebody who has the ability to disrupt whole industries with his ideas. Sadly (or thankfully) only a small number of innovators had made history thus far. Do you recognize the following innovators? (ThoughtCo.)
- Thomas Edison 1847-1931
- Alexander Graham Bell 1847-1869
- Henry Ford 1863-1947
- Steve Jobs 1955 – 2011
Imagine one of them working in your company? Well, maybe there are innovators already in your service. Therefore you should just open your eyes and find them!
Five characteristics of innovative persons (Inusual)
- Sensing Opportunity – successful innovators have a knack for identifying gaps in the market that they operate in.
- Proper Training and Education – great innovators are usually properly trained and well educated.
- Pro-activity and Persistence – innovative persons need to be resilient in the face of obstacles, challenges, and adversity.
- Prudence – innovators put a lot of thoughts and do thorough analysis before they make decisions.
- Emotional Intelligence – innovation is almost always the product of teamwork. Therefore, having well-developed emotional intelligence is essential for an innovative person in order to sell her idea to others and also when coordinating with her team.
After all, innovators usually share distinctive habits…
Interesting habits of highly innovative persons (Entrepreneur)
- They pursue their passions – they have an inner drive that they use to let their dreams come true.
- They keep records of their ideas – innovative persons tend to be doodlers and list makers.
- Experiences and knowledge are fuel for the mind of an innovative person – he therefore loves to read, to study and to experience new things.
- Innovative persons question everything – their inquisitive mind is always active.
- They set up a work environment that will help them to innovate – an innovative person will try to create his own space to be what he is…
- Innovative people free them from constraints – to remove the things that box them in and to throw out old assumptions and self-limiting beliefs.
- Highly innovative people nurture the creative process – they allocate time each week to brainstorm and meditate.
- They look relentlessly for patterns and connections – they look for meaning within the order of things, to better understand why things are the way they are and how they can be improved.
- Highly innovative persons have multiple areas of interest – a highly innovative person has the ability to excel in multiple areas and fields.
- They tinker and take things apart – because innovators are driven to better understand how everything works.
But wait, they are also human beings…
The human side of innovative persons
Tomislav Buljubasic in Innovation Excellence has recognized the human side of innovative persons: “Sometimes, we call innovators as ‘rebels’ which will not tolerate current system in their environment. As a result, they break this status quo and they should be supported in this mission as this could bring new ideas and improvement for their organization.”
Indeed, one critical characteristic that highly innovative persons have is non-conformance. However, being nonconformists are putting these people in difficult positions. Many of the ‘old’ school companies demand that their employees walk the company line. Have you ever witness a manager shout at a ‘difficult” employee “fit in or f*ckoff”. No place there for creativity and innovation, I suppose…
No business can now and in the future do without innovative persons. However, the advent of the 4th industrial revolution has come to the aid of businesses and innovative persons. Indeed, innovative persons can now free themselves from the constraints of corporate business to join the GiG economy. Being a gig-worker offers innovators the environment and space to do what they do best – disrupting the status quo!
Video: 18 Surprising Traits of Highly Creative People
1 Abdelaal, M. 2016. The architectural building blocks of innovation: A comprehensive metric for developing innovative spaces, In 33rd IASP World Conference on Science Parks and Areas of Innovation 2016 (pp. 399-423), IASP Moscow.
2 Sutton, C.J. 1980. Economics and corporate strategy, CUP Archive.
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