Best practice is worst practice when it comes to innovation and without innovation organisations atrophy and die.

My mission is to spread the gospel of better practice. Creating change through different thinking. That leads to innovation and innovation is about transformity rather than conformity.  It’s about breaking rules rather than following them. If we all learn and execute in accordance with best practice, we simply establish and conform to a new norm. There is no real change.

George Bernard Shaw famously pointed out that reasonable men adapt themselves to the world, unreasonable men try to adapt the world to them. Therefore all progress is made by unreasonable men.

Innovators are often mavericks. They need courage, curiosity, creativity, critical thinking and communication, but because life’s too complex to do everything on your own they also need to know how to collaborate.

Some innovative traits are genetic, some are learned, but there’s little doubt that nature outweighs nurture when it comes to innovation.

Here are the 6 major traits I believe are inherent in innovators.:

Associating – The ability to connect dots – put unrelated elements together to create new objects, events or perspectives. Seeing what everyone else has seen, but thinking what no one else has thought. That’s creativity.

Questioning – Constant curiosity and questioning of the status quo. The ability to keep asking “Why?” will lead to new ways of looking at problems. That’s critical thinking.

Observing – Innovators don’t just look, they see. They are intense observers, constantly watching the world around them. Shiny new products, services, trends, or technologies are all grist to the innovator’s mill – as they search for insights and ideas of new ways of looking at things. That’s curiosity.

Networking – This isn’t just socialisation to innovators – they are curious souls, energetically testing their ideas by talking to a wide range of people who may have radically differing views. They never know when serendipity might help them stumble on a new idea or connection. That’s collaboration.

Experimenting – Piloting new ideas and experiences is all part of innovation. Visiting new places, trying new things and experiences – everything from scuba diving, learning yoga to taking up water-colour painting broadens the innovators mind. Innovators never arrive. The journey is as important as the destination. That’s courage.

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