Innovation: A Team Sport

Braden Kelley is an innovation and change specialist, the author of Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire, an InnovationExcellence.com co-Founder, and is the creator of the Change Planning Toolkit™ and a book on the best practices and next practices of organizational change (January 2016 release).

I’m seeing an increasing number of articles about innovation personalities and the like, and I’m a firm believer that it’s not personalities that matter so much when it comes to innovation--it’s the roles that we play in making innovation happen (or not). So, I would like to add the “Nine Innovation Roles” (from my book Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire) to the conversation.

Too often, we treat people as commodities that are interchangeable and maintain the same characteristics and aptitudes. Of course, we know that people are not interchangeable, yet we continually pretend that they are anyway--to make life simpler for our reptile brain to comprehend. Deep down, we know that people have different passions, skills and potential, but even when it comes to innovation, we expect everybody to have good ideas.

I’m of the opinion that all people are creative, in their own way. That is not to say that all people are creative in the sense that every single person is good at creating lots of really great ideas, nor do they have to be. I believe instead that everyone has a dominant innovation role at which they excel, and that when properly identified and channeled, the organization stands to maximize its innovation capacity. I believe that all people excel at one of nine innovation roles, and that when organizations put the right …

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