Achieve - 6th Issue 2021 - 3

HIDDEN INNOVATORS continued from page 1
Thomas Edison is a great example of a creative thinker with an Adaptive style. He
held more than 1,000 US patents. However, many of the products he patented,
perfected, and commercialized were not originally conceptualized by him. For
example, he did not actually invent the light bulb, he developed a light bulb that
was practical. He was able to improve, fix, optimize, and operationalize ideas
better than perhaps anyone else in history.
It is important to note that your thinking style is an indicator of preference, not of
ability. Any of us can think and behave in another style-and we all do it
effectively when we recognize it's needed. But we go back to our preferred style
as soon as we can. It's where we're most comfortable and probably where we're
most consistently successful.
The chart below illustrates some key traits of extreme Adaptors and extreme
* Find rules and structure helpful
in solving problems.
* Solve the stated problem.
* Find a few workable solutions
within the existing paradigm.
* Accepts change in the interest
of improvement.
* Use more methodical, disciplined
approach; more likely to
document work.
* Focus on getting things done
efficiently and methodically on
a day-to-day basis.
* Dislike ambiguity.
* Aware of and concerned with
group norms.
* Find rules and structure limiting
in solving problems.
* Redefine the problem.
* Think of many varied ideas
inside and outside of existing
systems. Some ideas may seem
unacceptable to the group.
* Likes change simply because
it's different.
* Approach may seem undisciplined
and disorganized to others.
* Spontaneous and unplanned.
Can be efficient when extreme
circumstances require massive
change, because willing to throw
out existing systems.
* Regularly creates ambiguity.
* Has difficulty conforming to
group norms.
The important question becomes -
who should you have running your
innovation projects?
Extreme innovators are great at coming up
with ideas, and their energy and passion for
ideas may get other people excited about
them, at least at the beginning. But then their
greatest strength - their zest and constant
quest for new ideas - becomes a weakness
that starts to create problems. In short,
they'll drive everyone on the team crazy and
jeopardize the success of the project. So, an
extreme Innovator may not be the person
you want to run the show. They're one of the
actors, and probably a lead actor, but they
shouldn't be the producer.
So, if it isn't that person, the next logical
conclusion might be that the extreme
Adaptors should manage the process. They're
organized, disciplined, and efficient. But
similarly, their strengths can also become
weaknesses at the extremes. High Adaptors'
discomforts with ambiguity will likely result in
attempting to define the scope of projects too
early, or kill them altogether if the ambiguity
can't be resolved quickly. And their focus on
the stated problem may prevent them from
seeing solutions or opportunities outside
their day-to-day world.
So now what? If you've ruled out extreme
Innovators and extreme Adaptors as the
continued on page 4
A publication of the American Business Women's Association, ©2021 ABWA Management LLC

Achieve - 6th Issue 2021

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