How to tell if you are an innovator
Innovators are born and made. Innovators are people who have good ideas or sometimes just good insights. Innovators are people who aren't happy with the status quo, and are willing to do something about it. Herewith, seven factors that will tell you whether or not you are an innovator. Take the assessment, but know this: anyone can be an innovator. Read on and I'll tell you how.
- Think a lot about the future. They wonder not about the next calamity, but what the future will be like and how they can impact the future. They wonder about emerging trends. They wonder what consumers will want next. Safety and security in today's world doesn't interest them. They are eager for what's next.
- Aren't satisfied with the status quo. They are constantly trying to improve things - even things that don't seem to be broken. They want to know how to improve things, eliminate obstacles. As Shaw said, all progress is due to the unreasonable man, since reasonable people accept shortcomings.
- Are empathetic. Innovators can get into other people's lives and shoes. They can virtually walk a mile in your moccasins. This doesn't necessarily mean they are "nice", just able to understand issues and challenges better than the average joe.
- Are playful, in the best sense. By this I mean they are open to new experiences, are willing to test and prototype, and open to discovery.
- Are stubborn and driven. If innovators don't have a stubborn streak, then their ideas won't progress, because many people will resist even good ideas initially. It's not easy advocating for a new idea. Innovators have to be committed to their ideas.
- Are open to exchange of insights and ideas. While stubborn and driven, they understand that the best ideas are emergent and based on the kernal of good insights and ideas from a broad range of settings. They are willing to listen, to absorb and to incorporate inputs from a wide variety of sources.
- Want to solve real problems. The difference between science fiction and innovation is that while innovators joke about jet backpacks, they want to solve real needs and offer real solutions. Some of those may be incremental in nature - the next product release and some may be disruptive - the next jet backpack. But only if the jet backpack solves a real, important, relevant need and is viable and adoptable.
If this doesn't sound like you, but you do want to innovate, the great news is this: nothing in this list can't be learned. These are a series of behaviors and perspectives that anyone can adopt. Stop telling yourself you aren't innovative. You weren't born with the gene, you build it from your experiences, interests and perspectives. Just exercise your attitude and become more open to the possibilities.