The chart sets out the three factors that give innovators their ability to drive change where others had simply failed to take action:
- Passion. Innovators are driven. They want to make a difference to the world and aren’t shy about letting people know about it. Without passion, nothing will ever get started.
- Objective. Innovators face the facts. They don’t delude themselves, but take a learning-based attitude that allows them to keep what’s working and ditch what isn’t.
- Persistent. Innovators keep on keeping on. Never giving up in the face of repeated failure is the hallmark of all great innovators. Some of Silicon Valley’s top entrepreneurs were surveyed on what drove their success. Their #1 answer was their ability to ‘experiment fearlessly’ and that means persistence.
If these three characteristics are critical to successful innovation, where are you on the chart?
- Giving up too early. These people have the energy and passion to generate ideas and the ability to sort the wheat from the chaff. However, they don’t have the discipline, resilience or the fearlessness to persist.
- Failing to learn from experience. These people have the energy to get started and will carry on doing stuff. However, they are blinded to the realities of their experiments and are unable or unwilling to learn from them. Consequently, their ideas seldom make it to successful outcomes.
- Unable to lead. These people have objectivity and persistence. They are great supporters and ‘right-hand women’ but don’t have the passion to get things started, build early momentum and engage others.
- True innovators. These people are the ones who turn ideas into innovation. They combine the vision, the energy, an ability to learn and adapt and the chutzpah to make things happen and overcome any obstacles put in their way. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Tim Berners-Lee, Richard Branson, Anita Roddick, Vivienne Westwood and James Dyson all immediately come to mind.
True innovators may not be the easiest people in the world to work with, but they are the heroes that keep driving our species’ amazing progress.
Where do you sit against them and their characteristics, and what could you focus on to become more innovative?