What is Your Innovation Style?

Guest post from Shoya Zichy:

Innovation is
critical to an organization’s growth and competitive advantage. Yet in a recent survey of 5,000 only 1 in 4
people believe they are living up to their creative potential.  Typically most managers do not realize there
are different styles even though they divide 50/50 in the populations worldwide.  Each is needed but often not identified or

Take a minute to
choose from each set of statements below. 
But choose as your truest
self, not according
to the demands of your job or boss. Your
weekend personality is usually the best indicator. 
Answer every question and choose the statement that best answers; at least 51% of the time, I tend to:
__like to be scheduled                        OR       __prefer to be spontaneous

__make detailed
plans before I start  OR       __handle problems as they arise

__meet deadlines
early                      OR       __meet deadlines at the last minute

__have a tidy
workplace                    OR       __have a workplace with many  piles/papers

__want clear
guidelines                     OR       __want open-ended flexibility

__Total                                                           __Total


If you chose more
items on the left, your inborn styles is that of a “structured”
innovator.  You function best in a stable
environment with well-defined responsibilities.

You contribute by organizing
the new projects and developing efficient systems that ensure the work or
product is completed with precision and accuracy.  “Structured” innovators are known
for conserving resources and establishing the procedures necessary for
long-term success.

To be at your
innovative best, sit back and relax during the initial brainstorming
sessions.  Your contributions will come later,
figuring out what processes are need to make the final concept work.  Rein in your tendency to express your critique
at every fielded idea.  Wait until the
final 3 are on the table and then express only your biggest concerns.  If, however, the innovation involves
government regulations, your contribution is critical. 

strengths:  Bringing the ideas to
fruition and making them work.


If you chose more
items on the right you are an “adaptable” innovator.  Chances are you prefer to work in a flat
hierarchy with the opportunity redefine your responsibilities every day.

You contribute by
generating ideas and taking the leap of faith when it is impossible to know
everything in advance.  You explore new
fields and solve problems in original ways. 
“Adaptables” excel at multi-tasking and keeping several balls
in the air at the same time.

To be at your
innovative best, experiment with many ideas to see how they can be
improved.  When you have 3 on the table,
turn to “structured” colleagues and discuss what needs to happen and
contribute contingency plans.  Address
the question:  How can we make sure our
new concept does not get bogged down? 

strengths:  Keeping the need to innovate
uppermost in people’s minds and dealing the needed midcourse corrections.

Bottom line; the
more an organization incorporates both types of innovators – idea generation
and idea implementation – the better the solutions.  Team conflict can be minimized by allowing
the style best suited for each project state to lead the way, then having them
step aside when that stage is completed.  With this information
organizations can harness different personalities to innovate in a dynamic and
effective manner.

About the author:

Shoya Zichy is the
creator of the award-wining Color Q personality system currently used by 70,000
worldwide in client groups such as the U.S. Treasury, Marine Corps Scholarship
Foundation, Merrill Lynch, UBS, and schools in Saudi Arabia, among others.
Former president of
the Myers-Briggs Association of NY, she is the author of 3 books, including Personality Power:Discover Your Unique Profile – and Unlock Your Potential for BreakthroughSuccess.