The entire world talks daily about innovation. It is the key for the development of economies.

The question of whether the new Einsteins, the main drivers of innovations are born with innovative talent or can develop it has a knock-on effects on issues surrounding productivity growth.

Many people have a pretty narrow definition of who an innovator is. They assume that if they don’t invent things and hold multiple patents, they aren’t innovative. In reality, many inventors don’t have patents or products. Some innovators generate ideas, while others bring those ideas to reality.

Ultimately, innovators are motivated by change. They possess the unique ability to come up with out-of-the-box solutions to everyday problems.

An innovator is someone who has the capacity to turn new knowledge and skills into a successful product or service.

According to research conducted by Dr. Jeffrey H. Dyer, professor of strategy at the BYU Marriott School of Business, Innovative entrepreneurship is not a genetic predisposition, but is the product of honing five discovery skills

The habits of innovators define the foundation of their creative thinking. The research conducted shows that these five discovery skills distinguish the most innovative entrepreneurs from others.

The five key discovery skills identified in Dyer’s research are:

Associating: This cognitive skill is the backbone of the creative process. Associating is triggered by the other four discovery skills. It is the ability to take two seemingly unrelated objects or ideas and synthesize them to create a new innovation.

Questioning: In order to find the right answers, an innovator possesses the ability to ask the right questions, imagine opposites, and embrace constraints.

Observing: Through observation, great innovators carefully look for behavioral details—in the activities of customers, suppliers, competitors, etc.—to gain insights about new ways of doing things.

Experimenting: The innovative entrepreneurs interviewed for “The Innovator’s DNA” all engaged in some form of active experimentation, trying on new experiences and testing new ideas.

Networking: Innovative entrepreneurs go out of their way to meet people with different ideas, backgrounds and perspectives so they can expand their own knowledge and experiences.

It is important to note that creativity and innovation are things that can be cultivated. Only one-third of the ability to think creatively comes from our genetics, the other two-thirds of the innovation skill set come through the learning and practice of these five discovery skills.

In essence, you do not need to innately possess the ability or talent of innovation to be a disruptive innovator in your field. All you need do is to take cognizance of these five discovery skills and make its impact reflect in your creative process.



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Publisher: Jessica Day

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