4 Common characteristics of Innovative Personalities

It is well known that innovation is the ‘secret sauce’ of successful businesses.  But, what makes one person more innovative than another?

According to researches held on innovative personalities, such as Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Pierre Omidyar and others, these unique personalities have some characteristics in common that make them distinguish:

  • associating
  • questioning
  • experimenting
  • networking

The above characteristics are called creative intelligence, which enable discovery and differs from other types of intelligence, like cognitive intelligence.  It is not only just being clever and thinking with your logic, it is about using your skills in a creative way and bring about new business ideas.

Let’s look at the skills in detail:


Is the ability to connect seemingly unrelated questions, problems or ideas from different fields.  During the last years, innovative minds bring together people from different working fields and education to work together and new ideas blossom  from their interaction.

To grasp how associating works, we need to understand how our brain operates. The brain doesn’t store information like a computer, it associates information with personal experiences. The more diverse an experience is the more association the brain generates.  As Steve Jobs has frequently observed ”Creativity is connecting things”‘.

That is why, the most innovative companies worldwide, prosper by the diversity of their founders, executives and employees.

Association is something that grows stronger with practicing so everyone can work it out.


Innovators constantly ask questions, Ratan Tatan suggest entrepreneurs :” Question the unquestionable”.  Innovative minds cannot bear the reality as it is and they constantly try to change it.    The following questions are present in every brainstorming : They ask Why? and Why not? and What if?

Innovative entrepreneurs also like to play devil’s advocate. They frequently analyze the opposite scenario or opinion.  This method or way of thinking has lead many entrepreneurs to new, original outcomes.

Consider real world limitations as an opportunity for questioning and creative thinking.   To the majority of people, real world limitations constrain their thinking so they give up soon or follow the wrong direction.  One  of Google’s innovation principle is ”Creativity loves constrains” .


Innovation is around  us. Innovative founders build their projects after observing ever day people living their daily routine.  They act like anthropologists, they look closely every behavior that others do. Akio Toyoda insists in suggesting  ”going  to the spot and seeing yourself”.


After  observing follows the experimentation.  Try out your new idea by creating prototypes and launching pilots that will give you a valuable feedback. This practice will build an innovation culture that can allow a lot of failures , learning and then new questioning and adoptions.


Make some time in your every day schedule for networking. Meet people with fresh ideas from other business fields. Use the online networks that platforms like LinkedIn, Pitchstor, Facebook, etc) can provide you and interact with people from different countries and cultures, learn about their projects and extend your knowledge.

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