“The Ten Faces of Innovation” by Tom Kelley

Several years ago, I picked up a copy of The Ten Faces of Innovation by Tom Kelley and Jonathan Littman.  The book is a beautiful (great glossy photographs) and insightful.  Here are some of the insights I picked up:

“… a culture of innovation may be the ultimate fuel for long-term growth and brand development….”

At IDEO, we believe that innovators focus on the verbs. They’re proactive. They’re energetic. Innovators set out to create, to experiment, to inspire, to build on new ideas. All good working definitions of innovation pair ideas with action, the spark with the fire.

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.

THE LEARNING PERSONAS –  driven by the idea that no matter how successful a company currently is, no one can afford to be complacent.

  • The Anthropologist brings new learning and insights into the organization by observing human behavior and developing a deep understanding of how people interact physically and emotionally with products, services, and spaces.
  • The Experimenter prototypes new ideas continuously, learning by a process of enlightened trial and error.
  • The Cross-Pollinator explores other industries and cultures, then translates those findings and revelations to fit the unique needs of your enterprise.

THE ORGANIZING PERSONAS – individuals who are savvy abou the often counterintuitive process of how organizations move ideas forward.

  • The Hurdler knows the path to innovation is strewn with obstacles and develops a knack for overcoming or outsmarting those roadblocks.
  • The Collaborator helps bring eclectic groups together, and often leads from the middle of the pack to create new combinations and multidisciplinary solutions.
  • The Director not only gathers together a talented cast and crew but also helps to spark their creative talents.

THE BUILDING PERSONAS –  apply insights from the learning roles and channel the empowerment from the organizing roles to make innovation happen.

  • The Experience Architect designs compelling experiences that go beyond mere functionality to connect at a deeper level with customers’ latent or expressed needs.
  • The Set Designer creates a stage on which innovation team members can do their best work, transforming physical environments into powerful tools to influence behavior and attitude.
  • The Caregiver builds on the metaphor of a health care professional to deliver customer care in a manner that goes beyond mere service.
  • The Storyteller builds both internal morale and external awareness through compelling narratives that communicate a fundamental human value or reinforce a specific cultural trait.

Which one are you?  What other skills do you think may be necessary for leader who want to create and sustain innovation in their organizations?

  • Henry Zonio

    Wow, sounds like a good book to read. It’s nice to see different metaphors for personalities and how they contribute. I definitely fit into one of the learning personas.

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