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HomeBlogsdigital innovationThe Identikit of the Innovator

The Identikit of the Innovator

Let's find out what distinguishes innovators and what is their mindset

Why it is important to innovate

The innovation of the last thirty years has significantly changed our world, the next wave that awaits us between now and 2050 promises to make our daily life even more different. In recent years, disruptive innovation has changed entire industries and redefined entire sectors, mobile and digital have changed our society forever.

Innovating means, to use the famous words of a speech by Barack Obama create something that improves the way we live our lives. Innovating means creating a change that brings shared value.

To make innovation, however, you need Innovators, the profile of a person dedicated to innovation is not that of a Pythagorean Archimedes intent on creating new inventions but could also be that of your desk neighbor, this is because the being innovators is not a gift but a mindset.

Are innovators born or made?

According to the opinions of Jeff Dyer, Hal Gregersen and Clayton Christensen, authors of The Innovator's DNAyou become. Contrary to what many think, innovators are not necessarily particularly gifted people, but according to the authors they are people who are able to make the most of the interaction between five skills.

It's not about personal ideas, but about a study that compared the characteristics of 500 innovators with those of 5,000 managers with the aim of understanding what distinguished the former from the latter. One of the results is summarized by these five skills. The first is cognitive, while the other four are behavioral:

  • ability to associate. Association creation occurs when the brain tries to synthesize and make sense of new inputs. It helps innovators discover new directions by creating connections between things that are seemingly unrelated: innovations often occur at the intersection of different disciplines.
  • to observe. Innovators carefully observe the world around them - including consumers, products, services, technologies and companies - and this activity allows them to constantly have insights and ideas about new ways of doing things and also fuels and exercises the capacity for association.
  • question things. Quoting Peter Drucker “The biggest mistakes are not the result of answers wrong. The real dangerous thing And wonder the requests wrong". Innovators often challenge the status quo. “What would happen if we tried this?” it is the kind of question that ultimately produces insights, connections, possibilities and new directions and ends up changing the collective knowledge. Knowing how to ask the right questions is the only way to find the answers we need.
  • desire to experiment. Like scientists, innovative entrepreneurs actively experiment with new ideas for prototyping (quoting Edison, “I haven't failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that don't work”) and the world is theirs. laboratory” Being constantly looking for new experiences, trying new places, new objects, looking for information and continuously learning new things is the mindset of those who experiment.
  • network. In parallel with observation, comparison with other people is essential, those who innovate usually spend time and energy looking for and testing ideas through their network with the aim of broadening their perspectives. They don't just connect with others to get resources, they actively seek out new ideas by talking to people who can bring new points of view.

In their book, the authors use the metaphor of DNA, in which the role of the supporting structure is given to the capacity for association while the other capacities are the elements that enrich and make the whole DNA of the innovator.

The Mindset and the Soft Skills of Innovation

The mindset of Innovation is therefore composed slowly, it has a base of experience, a base of character and a vision of the reality around it that is different from the ordinary. Innovators often have multipotential personalities and this allows them to combine a multidisciplinary vision with the ability to create links between different contexts and arrive at totally new ideas and ideas. The main characteristics to recognize an innovator are:

  • A certain nonconformity combined with an optimistic approach, probably by his choice an early adopter of products or services unknown to most.
  • At work he doesn't just do his job but he is passionate about problems and is a problem solver by nature.
  • He doesn't answer "It's always been like this" but imagines "what if..." or asks "why not..."
  • It has the ability to merge stimuli by fitting them into a larger frame.
  • Knows how to involve others and reduce the distances between people and ideas.
  • Attitude and awareness to take risks

The most important Soft Skills to develop to become a successful innovator are

  • Problem Solving
  • Creativity
  • Empathy
  • Curiosity
  • Attention to detail

The importance of Empathy and Team

So far we have only talked about the ability of the individual, but few innovations are due solely to a single person. Empathy and the ability to know how to involve others are not always given the right emphasis but if an innovator wants to be successful he must above all know how to relate to people, be able to understand them and stimulate them to reason, convince them and bring them to his side, otherwise the risk of becoming a lonely dreamer is high. In fact, innovations can arise from the individual but grow and spread only thanks to teamwork.

The world is changing and those who are successful learn to innovate their own products along with their own processes and at people.

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