Innovating… Your way

Did the previous post start you thinking about who you and your colleagues are as innovators? Wonder how this typing might make a difference when you’re managing a project? It turns out that there’s a strong match between the Meyers-Briggs flavored innovation types and the phases of an innovation project.

Idea refiners like to simplify matters and wait to move forward until an accurate definition of the problem is found, so that time isn’t wasted later. This is great for the Define phase – – these are the folks who will look at all the potential their team members and executives have brought to the first meetings, and make some sense out of it in a way that will frame a brief for the project work ahead.

Those who like to Have Different Ideas are naturals in the second phase, Discovery,  where adequate exploration is key to the greatest innovation success later.
At this point in the project, more ideas and wilder ideas are what’s needed. During the remaining phases,
the brilliance unearthed here will be honed to something increasingly practical. You need a couple people who can expand your options at this wide open end of the innovation funnel.

Idea Adopters like to align ideas to real needs and then move forward with at least one – which is perfect for progressing into and through the Decide phase. Some teams remain in the Define and Discover phases too long if they are lacking the team members who are itching to focus the work by prioritizing stakeholder needs, playing to target customers’ desires, or otherwise evaluating and choosing the path forward.

The final Delivery phase plays to the strength of those who like Efficiency Ideas,
since they like to realize practical outcomes and complete a process.
It’s something to be grateful for, that 38% of the population is this type, for a couple reasons:
(1) the greater part of the work is in the Implementing, rather than the initial idea generation.
And (2) a good idea simply evaporates without someone to make it happen, hopefully to make it turn out great.

The further information available in the Innovation Types report helps people see where they fit well and can contribute from a position of strength. It also points out ways to relate better with other types and to stretch yourself to be a more well-rounded innovation team member. Here’s a bit more to whet your appetite.


This is a good project phase for those who like to Refine and Adapt Ideas. You may be the type to…

– Turn the obvious into the innovative.
– Spontaneously make useful innovation happen simply.
– Offer practical innovations to make things easier to do.
– Use logic to refine existing processes.

For those who like to gather information and simplify it, their innovation tip is to take a leap of faith when it is impossible to know everything in advance. Work on the ability to decide and make closure, realizing that energy must be spent on the outcome, not just the input.  Your tendency to focus on current realities would be helpful to your company’s internal processes.

Related to Meyers-Briggs “SP”: Trust experience. Notice the details. Go with the flow. Keep options open.


Those attracted to originality and to different ideas enjoy the Discover phase of projects. You may be the type to…

– Seek unique, value-driven ideas that can make a difference.
– Generate strategic and creative ideas to innovate differently.
– Connect and discover people-centered possibilities
– Break the mold to innovate in new and exciting ways.

For those who like to generate and develop new ideas, the general innovation tip is to recognize that a solution is not an end unto itself, but must be implemented. Consider how to best rely on team members to bring practical considerations in focus. Your tendency to look to future possibilities is very helpful in working on the external face, offerings and relations of your company.

Related to Meyers-Briggs “NP”: Take in information via hunches and impressions. Think bigger picture. Go with the flow. Keep options open.


The Decide phase is good for those who strive for originality and are also savvy about adopting ideas. You may be the type to…

– Collect and connect ideas for implementation.
– Innovate to change behavior and enhance people’s lives.
– Provide a global perspective to find local innovative solutions.
– Innovate for the well-being of the planet and its people.

For those who like to align people, ideas and plans and then choose the right direction, the general innovation tip is to work on your ability to explain the ideas and process step-by-step to ensure that everyone has the full picture. Also, remember that those in the room have different motivations in the innovation process. Your tendency to make timeless connections is well used in creating and supporting your company’s products, services and relationships externally.

Related to Meyers-Briggs “NJ”: Take in information via hunches and impressions. Think bigger picture. Prefer an organized life, planning and closure.


When finally Delivering on innovation, it takes an adaptive personality who also understands efficiency. You may be the type to…

– Innovate to make things happen. Not just think about them.
– Build on existing realities for the benefit of others.
– Make practical improvements that meet real needs.
– Deliver tangible improvements to existing realities.

For those who are drawn to make things real, to implement them, the general innovation tip is to be patient with irrelevant idea generation: delay judgment on what will work. To stretch yourself, practice idea expansion techniques in brainstorms. Your tendency to make the most of past experience is well used in making internal processes work well at your company.

Related to Meyers-Briggs “SJ”:Trust experience. Notice the details. Prefer an organized life, planning and closure.

Killen and Williams’s work helps us see how to build an effective innovation development team to align many voices, generate groundbreaking ideas, select a direction forward, and execute innovative plans. Deeper type assessment, description, and coaching tips are available from their “Introduction to Type and Innovation,”, 2009.

To become better acquainted with Meyers-Briggs types, check Wikipedia and also links like this:

Happy New Year!
Best wishes on your resolutions… perhaps even one to know your innovative self better!


1 thought on “Innovating… Your way”

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    In the past couple of years I’ve specialized in “seemingly impossible, but merely difficult” projects, and this experience has convinced me that this is a game only a diverse team can win. While it’s more natural to seek the company of people similar to us, reading your blog reminds me that we need to join with others who share our commitment to achieving results, but approach the challenge differently. Next time I’m engaged in “healthy conflict” with my colleagues I’ll remember this and shout “Wahoo! We’re different!” ; – )

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