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Top Five Characteristics of an Inspiring Innovator

We are all innovative. It is innate, and necessary in forward movement. At one time or another, the light bulb has gone off and the brilliant idea was born. With hard work and the right resources, we put it into action.There are some innovators that make it a way of life. To those, we aspire.

Intelligent Life magazine (September/October 2014 issue) asked 14 notable people to name another person in public life who has inspired them, and to tell us all how.

For example, Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia, is awed by J.J. Abrams’ boundless creativity—and the joy it brings.

Also, Dame Anne McLaren’s pioneering work in embryonic development laid the foundations for Robert Winston’s improvements in IVF. She was, he says, a brilliant scientist with a great sense of fun.

And, Melinda Gates is moved by Mother Teresa’s belief in our shared humanity, and that everyone should be treated as if they matter.

Great leaders share many of the same characteristics which help them not only inspire, but also motivate people, gain respect and admiration. This is what truly turns a person from a simple innovator into a true leader. We can ask ourselves, why is Apple so innovative? What is it about the Wright brothers that we admire most? Or Martin Luther King? Forbes magazine listed the unconventional behaviours of inspiring innovators and leaders of our time.

Inspiring Innovators

  1. Challenges status quo. Pushes you to look deeper and takes the other side of the argument just to explore what may have been forgotten that may be critical. It takes courage to stand up and challenge your own ideas and experience.
  2. Takes the blame. If there is blame to be had, great leaders take it on. On the flip side, if there is credit t be given, they give it away! Exceptional leaders protect their team and are humble about their own accomplishments.
  3. Listens. Malcolm Forbes once said: “The art of conversation lies in listening.” By sitting back and listening to the team, one can gain tremendous insight and ideas.
  4. Seeks diversity. Great leaders go outside of their comfort zone in creating their teams. Human nature has us surround ourselves with like-minded people that reinforce our ideas. However, by seeking diversity, the team is more innovative and creative.
  5. Asks why? And why not? The rule of 10 why’s? By asking the question over and over again, Curiosity and naïveté are critical to innovation.

Remarkable leaders are few and far between. But we remember them. What characteristics do you admire most in leaders?


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