Attributes of Great Innovators

I just did a Google search for “Attributes of Great Innovators” and collected a list. Here is the list categorized by sources and a few of my comments.

Five Discovery Skills that Distinguish Great Innovators

  1. Associating
  2. Questioning
  3. Observing
  4. Networking
  5. Experimenting

Clayton M. Christensen thinks skills 2-5 support the Association skill. The ability to connect the dots, see uncommon uses of common things, cross pollinating ideas from different disciplines distinguish innovators from others. But that is just the starting point. Taking these ideas, validating them and experimenting with them ultimately produces innovative products and services.

Mitch Ditkoff of Idea Champions has a much bigger list. There are some overlaps.

  1. Challenges Status Quo
  2. Curious
  3. Self Motivated
  4. Visionary
  5. Entertains the Fantastic
  6. Takes Risks
  7. Peripatetic
  8. Playful and Humorous
  9. Self-accepting
  10. Makes New Connections
  11. Reflective
  12. Recognizes patterns
  13. Tolerates ambiguity
  14. Committed to Learning
  15. Balances intuition and analysis
  16. Situationally Collaborative
  17. Formally Articulate
  18. Resilient
  19. Persevering
  20. Flexible/Adaptive

Most of these are self explanatory. Peripatetic ( Changes work environments as needed. Wanders, walks or travels to inspire fresh thinking. Given to movement and interaction.) is one my favorite one.

Wander around, observe, question, reflect, balance intuition with analysis, tolerate ambiguity and make new connections.  Kind of like that.

Go to the google search link and find out more about innovators. I am sure you can identify with some of the qualities. Let me know whether we should add more items to this list.