Category Archives: Personal Innovation Skills

Mindset: Innovation’s Third Way

What most distinguishes the innovation high performers from the less innovative is not some indiscernible secret sauce of mental faculties. What distinguishes them is their mindset. That is to say: their attitudes, assumptions and beliefs—their mental models—about how the world works. These mental models are often subconscious. Yet they can have a huge impact on someone’s behavior and therefore how well they perform—and innovate. Continue reading

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Innovation Essentials: Testing Our Intuitions

Great innovations are often based on powerful intuitions, but we all know examples of someone thinking they have a great intuition and being misguided. So where does intuition fit into innovation and how do we know when we can rely on it? Continue reading

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Innovation Essentials: Are You an Assimilator or an Accommodator?

Innovation is different from other business competencies because it’s not about extending our expertise; it’s about repeatedly revising our expertise, at times rethinking our most fundamental assumptions and beliefs about our business. We need to recognize that when we encounter new information and observations, we must constantly check to be sure that when we see a cat we don’t assume that it’s just another doggie. Continue reading

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Pitching an Innovative Idea

One of the principal challenges any innovator faces is persuading others of the value of an idea. It is a frequent source of frustration and angst, and an absolutely essential innovation skill. Continue reading

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Innovation is About Making Predictions

When it comes to innovation, making good predictions isn’t about trying to discern where the world is headed as much as where we might take the world. It’s an imaginative process (often just as imaginative as coming up with ideas in the first place). Innovation is not about predicting the future we’re expecting but rather achieving the future we want to create. Continue reading

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Two Ways to Think About Innovation

People in the wrong frame of mind can undermine even the most thoughtfully designed innovation processes. Folks in the right frame of mind can overcome many imperfections in those processes. Systems and processes are important in business, but they’re no substitute for enhancing the way people think. Continue reading

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The Best Figure-Outers Win

Whenever we must extend beyond what we already know, it’s fundamentally the same cognitive exercise, whether we’re trying to cure disease, invent a new kind of financial instrument, win a promotion, launch a coup, or win someone’s hand in marriage. It all comes down to the ability to figure out; it’s the ultimate transferable skill. Continue reading

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Innovation Essentials: Unlearning

One of the central challenges innovators manage to overcome is the tendency to cling to past assumptions and beliefs and orthodoxies. Being willing and able to escape that mental inertia is one of the things that most distinguishes innovators. They’re skilled uinlearners. Continue reading

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Evaluating Innovative Ideas as Stories

There’s something remarkably powerful about a good story. It can take the driest of facts and breathe life into them, and it can do the same thing with an idea. Skilled innovators take their ideas and turn them into stories, often reshaping their assumptions and beliefs in the process.
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Innovation Essentials: Choose to Discover

Many of us are not well positioned to gain fresh insights and make new discoveries. We’re not in the right mindset and as Louis Pasteur said, “Chance favors only the prepared mind.” So even when we’ve made all the other choices that set us up to innovate, we still have a gap. Continue reading

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