In their book “The Innovator’s DNA”, Dyer and Hal Gregersen note five skills of disruptive Innovators. They really are practices that foster innovation in companies and are worthy of note by any company seeking more innovation.
- Associating: Breakthrough occur at the intersection of diverse disciplines and fields, as people from different fields share ideas and question each other about unrelated things. Noting the creative explosion in Florence Italy when the Medici family brought together scientists, poets, painters, architects. Philosophers and other creators who spawned the Renaissance, Frans Johnsson calls this the “Medici Effect” and it’s a quality companies can generate by recruiting innovative people.
- Questioning: Innovators challenge common wisdom and the status quo, by wondering, “if we tried this, what would happen?”
- Observing: Innovators scrutinize customers, suppliers and competitors to identify new ways of doing things. Steve Job’s trip to Xerox Parc is often credited as the catalyst for his insight into the Macintosh operating system, the mouse and the current Apple OSX system.
- Networking: Key to creation is meeting and exchanging ideas with diverse networks of people who offer radically different ideas. Companies therefore need to give people time and energy to find and test ideas with these people.
- Experimenting: Innovators constantly try new experiences and pilot new ideas, testing hypotheses and seeking out new information.
How is your company fostering creativity and innovation? Share with us what works and what doesn’t!