Friday, July 5, 2013

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 respected.

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. 

Your 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? 

Your 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. 

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Good article and very informative too. This also indicates that most of the structured innovators quite organized. How about out of the box thinkers, where do they fit it left or right side here?