Innovator Traits

Innovation is a skill, competency, unrelated mostly to IQ or creativity. In fact if an organization is serious about developing a full fledged competency map around innovation, I thought it might be well worth to spell out some skills that I have seen commonly across, and Clayton Christensen’s framework comes handy…

  • Associating: Skill to combine and force fit seemingly different objects/ideas/concepts across domains
  • Networking: Skill to relate and work with people for a problem/idea
  • Questioning: Skill to doubt and question status quo, just being plain curious
  • Experimenting: Skill to stretch existing boundaries with new unaccomplished trials
  • Observing: Skill to spot patterns and anomalies

There is always this evolutionary potential given any web plot to define layers of maturity on all skills. Usually there are  2 ways to look at this as well,

  1. The Scale, is the skill set of individual resulting in minor improvement, major improvement, new line of business, etc. Most people today are happy with incremental or disruptive, but I am more comfortable with a gradual scale.
  2. The Depth, is the skill allowing us to design better experiments, identify trends earlier than competition, build differentiated organizational capabilities and the like.
Questions/Indicators for each skill and its levels is easy to build across any hierarchy of role/responsibilities that you may have in your organization. More importantly the will to make the change is what counts.


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