According to Forbes (2017), “when a company has an innovative culture, it’ll grow easily, despite the fact that the creative process isn’t always simple.”  An innovative culture requires innovators.  But how do we identify them, and once identified, how do we nurture and encourage their innovative abilities? Innovators are, fortunately, all around us. They may even be within us.  Research has identified the socio-psychological characteristics of innovators. In his study, Loy (1969) defined Innovativeness as “the degree to which an individual is relatively early in developing and adopting a new idea over others in their social system.”

The study identified the most important personality traits of an innovator as (in order of power):

1.  Venturesomeness: being disposed to taking risks, daring

2.  Imaginativeness: having a lively, creative imagination.

3.  Dominance: forceful, assertive, aggressive, competitive

4.  Self-sufficiency: independence in thought and action.

Organizations and leaders looking to inspire innovation must first recognize the psychology of innovators.  And then create a free marketplace where all ideas are welcomed and encouraged.  Creating a culture where innovators feel safe in sharing, discussing, and developing new ideas encourages their innovative characteristics and contributions to bloom and flourish within the organization.  For those looking to discover the ‘innovator within’, recognize the times you feel one or more of the above characteristics, and allow it space and energy to grow.  The results will amaze you.

Reference

Henderson, T. (May 8, 2017).  Why innovation is crucial to your organization’s long-termsuccess.  Forbes, https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2017/05/08/why-innovation-is-crucial-to-your-organizations-long-term-success/#56d112a93098

Loy, J.  (1969).  Social Psychological Characteristics of Innovators. American Sociological Review34(1), 73–82.