A diverse range of thinking and thinkers. Cross-Pollinators. (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)
The Ten Faces of Innovation: IDEO’s Strategies for Beating the Devil’s Advocate and Driving Creativity Throughout Your Organization. by Tom Kelley and Jonathan Littman.
Following the official introduction of the book, The Ten Faces of Innovation is offered as a book about innovation with a human face. About the individuals and teams that fuel innovation inside great organizations. The ten core chapters of this book highlight ten people-centric tools developed at IDEO that you might call talents or roles or personas for innovation. Adopting one or more of these roles can help teams express a different point of view and create a broader range of innovative solutions.
Among the “Ten Faces of Innovation” I have chosen one to highlight since I feel somehow identified with it, the “Cross-Pollinator”.
The type of people a company needs to strengthen its creativity is the cross-pollinator.
Cross-pollinators are an « essential part of the ecosystem of innovation ». They are good students but good teachers as well and have a childlike ability to see patterns others don’t see and they can apply them in new contexts.
What makes a cross-polinator?
Cross-pollinators can create something new and better through the unexpected juxtaposition of seemingly unrelated ideas or concepts. They often innovate by discovering a clever solution in one context or industry then translating it successfully to another.
Cross-pollinators stir-up new ideas by exploring worlds that may at first glance seem to have little relevance to the problem at hand. Actually, this is one of the key-points experimented by participants during « Learning Expeditions ».
How to recognise Cross-pollinators in your company?
- They often think in metaphors, enabling them to see relationships and connections that others miss. They act as matchmakers, creating unusual combinations, approachs, that often spark innovative hybrids.
- They are Multifaceted, known as »T-shaped » individuals : they enjoy a breadth of knowledge [empathy accross disciplines] in many fields, but they also have depth [deep knowledge] in at least one area of expertise. They defy simple categorization, but don’t let that bother your.
- They don’t fear scarcity. « Necessity is the mother of invention » : scarcity and tough constraints force you to be innovative. They know how to challenge a team to come up with something on the cheap.
- They are confident that diverse and interesting projects work can fuel the fire of a culture of innovation. Like linguists : the more languages they master, the easier it becomes to absorb the next one.
- They are open-minded : they are receptive and know that success can come from the most unlikely of all directions.
- They are Boomerang staffers »: Independent, they might work for a company for a while, go out and get broad experience elsewhere, ant then come back. Give them a chance to find some fertile soil and you won’t regret it!
- They tirelessly spreads the seeds of innovation : they have wide interests, voracious curiosity, and an aptitude for learning and teaching.
Mentioning DCulberhouse’s blog (http://dculberh.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/cross-pollinators-and-idea-magnetism/)
We are living in a time when leadership requires not only the ability to connect dots…but to connect dots that are seemingly unrelated. The leaders who can do this will not only have an advantage…they will set the stage to allow creativity and innovation to grow and flourish within their organizations.
For this to happen, leaders have to broaden their range…to essentially become idea magnets. Drawing learning from a wide and diverse range of thinking and thinkers. Or, to become what Tom Kelley refers to in the Ten Faces of Innovation, as “Cross-Pollinators“.
According to Tom Kelley…
“Cross-pollinators can create something new and better through the unexpected juxtaposition of seemingly unrelated ideas or concepts. They often innovate by discovering a clever solution in one context or industry, then translating it successfully to another.”