20 Qualities that Describe Innovators

    The Innovator's Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth

  1. Challenges status quo: Dissatisfied with current reality, questions authority and routine and confronts assumptions.
  2. Curious: Actively explores the environment, investigates new possibilities, and honours the sense of awe and wonder.
  3. Self-motivated: Responds to deep inner needs, proactively initiates new projects, intrinsically rewarded for efforts.
  4. Visionary: Highly imaginative, maintains a future orientation, thinks in mental pictures.
  5. Entertains the fantastic: Conjures outrageous scenarios, sees possibilities within the seemingly impossible, honours dreams and daydreams.
  6. Takes risks: Goes beyond the comfort zone, experimental and nonconforming, courageously willing to “fail”.
  7. The Innovator's DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators

  8. Peripatetic: Changes work environments as needed; wanders, walks or travels to inspire fresh thinking; given to movement and interaction.
  9. Playful/humorous: Appreciates incongruities and surprise, able to appear foolish and child-like, laughs easily and often.
  10. Self-accepting: Withholds compulsive criticism of their own ideas, understands “perfection is the enemy of the good” unattached to “looking good” in the eyes of others.
  11. Flexible/adaptive: Open to serendipity and change, able to adjust “game plan” as needed, entertains multiple ideas and solutions.
  12. Makes new connections: Sees relationships between seemingly disconnected elements, synthesizes odd combinations, distills unusual ideas down to their underlying principles.
  13. Reflective: Incubates on problems and challenges; seeks out states of immersion; ponders, muses and contemplates.
  14. Recognizes (and re-cognizes) patterns: Perceptive and discriminating, notices organizing principles and trends, sees (and challenges) the “Big Picture.”
  15. Tolerates ambiguity: Comfortable with chaos, able to entertain paradox, doesn’t settle for the first “right idea”.
  16. Committed to learning: Continually seeks knowledge, synthesizes new input quickly, balances information gathering and action.
  17. Balances intuition and analysis: Alternates between divergent and convergent thinking; entertains hunches before analyzing them; trusts their gut, uses their head.
  18. Situationally collaborative: Balances rugged individualism with political savvy, open to coaching and support, rallies organizational support as needed.
  19. Formally articulate: Communicates ideas effectively, translates abstract concepts into meaningful language, creates prototypes with ease.
  20. Resilient: Bounces back from disappointment, learns quickly from feedback, willing to “try, try again”.
  21. Persevering: Hardworking and persistent, champions new ideas with tenacity, committed to follow-through and bottom-line results.
Source: “Free the Genie” series, a set of 12 creative thinking booklets, by Mitchell Ditkoff, President, Idea Champions.