Before you and your team begin the innovation process, you must understand what kind of innovator you are.

If you’ve followed along with The Innovator’s Advantage for a while now, you know one of my favorite things to remind people is that you are all innovators. Each and every person can innovate, but no one innovates in the same way!

It is essential to understand what kind of innovator you are. Without this knowledge, you could be focusing on the wrong job-to-be-done for your innovation personality. Focus on the wrong job for your skills, and you are wasting time and resources and will likely not see successful results for your projects.

This is why Ron Price and I created six Innovation Fitness™ Reports when we wrote The Innovator’s Advantage. These results map out each of the predominate personas of innovation and allow you to easily understand your top leadership skills, primary driving motivations, behavioral traits, external valuing patterns, and leadership style.

To uncover what kind of innovator you are and how to use your Innovation Fitness™ results, you’ll need to understand the job-to-be-done and develop self-awareness around your talents, behaviors, and passions.

How to Identify Your Innovation Personality

There are six innovation personalities that align with the Six Stages of Innovation: the Identifier Innovator, the Definer Innovator, the Developer Innovator, the Verifier Innovator, the Deployer Innovator, and the Scaler Innovator.

To understand which kind of innovator you are, it helps to first answer these questions:

1. What is the job-to-be-done?

During the innovation process there are many different jobs-to-be-done that require different skills. To determine which you should focus on, think about the process from beginning to end. What outcomes are you hoping to achieve with this innovation—are you trying to understand a problem or generate a solution? Consider the resources (team members, money, time, tools) you’ll need to successfully validate and deliver that solution. Be sure to think of the customers and stakeholders who should be involved in this process, and how you’ll get feedback, develop relationships, and share your solution with the world.

Some people are better suited to one type of job over another. Those who are passionate and skilled at coming up with new ideas for solutions may not be the best implementers or validators of that solution—it’s simply not their strength. So in identifying your innovator personality, you should first understand the job-to-be-done.

2. How do you think about the job-to-be-done? 

When presenting the same problem or solution to your team, no two people will respond in the same way. The kinds of questions they ask, the actions they take, how they talk about the problem or solution, their mannerisms, and what aspects get them excited about the work—it will be different for every person. This is why looking at your individual natural talents, skills, behaviors, passions, and experiences is so significant in determining what kind of innovator you are. The Innovation Fitness™ Assessment uses 61 factors to correlate these traits with the abilities needed to deliver the job-to-be-done.

With the answers to these questions and your individualized Innovation Fitness™ Score, you’ll know exactly which of the six innovation personalities you most align with and which blueprint to use to guide you through your innovation efforts.

How to Use Your Innovation Fitness™ Report

With the results from your Innovation Fitness™ Assessment, you can then see how you fall within each of the innovation personalities. The scale maps out against four levels: exact match, good match, fair match, and poor match. If you have an exact match in one of the stages, that means your individual report indicates you have the talent, motivation, passion, and skills to deliver great results in jobs-to-be-done in that stage. A poor match, of course, means that you will likely not deliver good results for those activities, and could even feel stressed in trying to deliver good work. Though, it should be noted that there are always exceptions, and you can develop the skills over time to raise your fitness levels in poorly or fairly matched stages.

Once you understand where you are likely to produce the highest results, you can now focus on the jobs-to-be-done that are best suited for you—and build a team best aligned with the Six Stages of Innovation  based on everyone’s individual innovation personalities. For example, if you are a good match as an Identifier Innovator, then look for ideation opportunities. If you are a Scaler Innovator, look for new ways to utilize your solution beyond its original scope.

Knowing what kind of innovator you are allows you to focus on where you can add the most value for your team and your organization—rather than wasting time by working on the wrong jobs-to-be-done for your innovation personality.

For more on the Innovation Fitness™ results, you can purchase The Innovator’s Advantage book here. You can learn more about the Six Stages of Innovation here.

Header image by The Jopwell Collection on Unsplash.