Brenna Sniderman wrote a post for Forbes entitled The Five Personalities of Innovators: Which one are you?. Brenna discusses that many people envision the faces of Edison and Steve Jobs when they think about people whom are innovative. She further reports that a recent study has identified five major innovation personality types that are crucial to fostering a healthy environment for the birthing of innovation.
Five personality types of innovators
These five personality types are different than what might be uncovered in a DISC (aff link) profile or other similar “personality type” assessments. The research shows that innovation has its own set of criteria and therefore identifiable personalities.
- Movers and Shakers – these are leaders. They have a strong personal drive. While they are strongly motivated by targets and rewards the most powering incentive for movers and shakers is the pursuit of creating a legacy as well as wielding influence over others. Movers and Shakers like be in the front. They like to drive projects forward (and perhaps promote themselves while doing so). When it is all said and done, when it is 5 o’clock somewhere, Movers and Shakers provide the push to get things done. The caveat is that they can be a bit arrogant and impatient with teamwork.
- Experimenters – perhaps the perfect combination for bringing a new idea through the various phases of development and execution, Experimenters are nothing else if not persistent and open to all new things. Perhaps the best way to describe them is via the famous cliche, “where there is a will, there is a way”. They’re perfectionists and tend tend towards being workaholics. This is most likely because it takes an incredible amount of dedication, time and hard work to push through an idea or initiative, especially one that has yet to catch on. Experimenters take deep pride in their achievements, yet they also enjoy sharing their expertise with others. Experimenters are those intense colleagues who are passionate about what they do, taking risks that makes everyone else feel guilty for daydreaming during the meeting. Because they’re so persistent, even in the face of sometimes considerable pushback, they’re crucial to the innovation cycle.
- Star Pupils – Most everyone knew one of those kids in grade school who sat at the front of the class, whom always raised their hand first. Maybe they even shouted out “Ooh! Ooh!” while waving their hand and stretching it ever so slightly higher as they raised their bottom off the chair; to try to get the teacher to call upon them first. This is the segment of the executive population those kids grew into. Simply put they are good good at everything; developing their personal brand, seeking out and cultivating the right mentors, identifying colleagues’ best talents and putting them to their best use. Amazingly, they seem to be able to climb through the ranks and make things happen, even if the culture is fighting against them. Most often CEOs tend to be Star Pupils. These guys (and gals) are the stem cells of the business world.
- Controllers – thrive on structure and shy away from more ominous projects. They are uncomfortable with risk. This manifests itself into people that prefer to be in control of their domain as well have everything in its place. These colleagues are not exactly team players and they are often not networkers. Controllers are often introverted and like to focus on concrete, clear-cut objectives where they know exactly where they stand and can better (c’mon you know it…) control everything around them.
- Hanger-Ons – Brenna admits this is a less-than-flattering name; these people exist to bring everyone back down to earth and tether them to reality. Like Controllers, they don’t embrace unstructured environments, and they tend to take things one step further, hewing to conventional wisdom and tried-and-true processes over the new and untested. They love the status-quo and rebel against any type of change or innovation.
What is my innovation personality
I fall into the Mover and Shaker category with a healthy lathering of Experimenter. This matches well with my research and development skills, especially when there is a project to be delivered.
What is your innovation personality
So which are you? Comment and let us know!