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What is your innovation style?

Traditionally senior management and R&D turf, creative innovation is now a requisite at every level of an organization committed to growth and a quality initiative.

"It is critical for corporations to tap into the individual styles of employees to stimulate and maximize creativity. Fresh ideas and new approaches are instrumental to moving a company forward in ways that can impact productivity, efficiency and overall customer satisfaction," explains William C. Miller, author of The Creative Edge: Fostering Innovations Where You Work, the model for Wilson Learning Corporation's The Creative Edge: Innovation Styles Workshop.


Everyone has the ability to be innovative, but each person has a different approach to generating solutions and bringing about change. Some basic styles are evident, but most people employ a combination of styles to generate new ideas.

Understanding these styles can enhance individual performance, as well as facilitate better group dynamics. Identifying your personal innovation style will help you recognize your style, enable you to recognize and learn other styles, and provide you with a new awareness and respect for the differing problem-solving styles of your colleagues.

Here is a brief quiz designed to determine your basic mixture of innovation styles. Because the answers are based on how you prefer to work, there are no right or wrong answers.


For each of the eight statements, divide a total of five points between the two possible responses.

* If you give five points to one option, give zero points to the other.

* If you give four points to one option, give one point to the other.

* If you give three points to one option, give two points to the other.

As you consider each statement, keep this central question in mind: How do I handle challenge most successfully in my current job?

A. There are some standard ways to go about solving them.

B. There needs to be a new way to go about solving them.

2. One of my strength is:

C. Seeing how different ideas and viewpoints can be related.

D. Being highly committed to making things work.

3. I can help innovation by making sure there is:

A. Steadiness thoroughness when developing new ideas.

B. Open-mindedness to a wide range of assumptions and ideas.

4. Sometimes, I might hinder construction change by:

C. "Leaving others behind" when I focus on future goals.

D. Getting lost in the details of implementation (and forgetting the goals).

5. I am best at solving problems that:

A. Are specific and have a single, best answer.

B. Need many perspectives and alternatives to be considered.

6. I am most successful when I deal with:

C. Insights and connections among ideas.

D. Detailed, factual information.

7. I like to find solutions by:

A. Applying expert solutions in new ways.

B. Using methapors and analogies for new insights.

8. I like to find solutions by:

C. Imagining the best possible outcome for everyone.

D. Combining the most practical ideas of many people.


A. ----- Modifying B. ----- Exploring C. ----- Visioning D. ----- Experimenting


Your scores in each of the categories indicate your style preferences. The style descriptions that follow describe your scores as they relate to your innovation style. Although you employ a combination of styles, your highest score identifies your greatest style preference. These questions represent only 8 of a 28 question survey that accompanies the new Wilson Learning program, The Creative Edge: Innovation Styles Workshop.


* Visioning Style

A visioner is stimulated by insights and makes decisions based on those insights. He/she prefers to focus on the ideal end result by formulating a vision of what he/she wants to create. The visioner is comfortable imagining an ideal result and letting that image be the guide. Use of this visioning style may provide a team with long-term direction and momentum.

* Exploring Style

An explorer is stimulated by insights and uses them to gather more information. He/she is able to thrive on the unknown and unpredictable, and is comfortable challenging assumptions and using analogies to approach problems from new angles. Explorers contribute to a team by questioning basic assumptions and models.

* Experimenting Style

An experimenter is stimulated by facts and uses those facts to gather more information. The experimenter generates new ideas by creating atypical combinations of established processes. He/she contributes to a team by combining input from everyone to ensure a workable, consensus solution.

* Modifying Style

A modifier is stimulated by facts and makes decisions based on those facts. He/she prefers to move forward one step at a time, building on what is known and proven. The modifier adds stability and thoroughness to the team's creative process.

Wilson Learning is a worldwide training and development company with more than 25 years of industry experience that produces practical, issue specific programs to effect leadership. Wilson has offices in more than 25 countries and publishes programs in 15 languages.

For more information about The Creative Edge: Innovation Styles, contact: Wilson Learning Corporation, 7500 Flying Cloud Drive, Eden Prairie, MN 55344, 612/828-8866.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Canadian Institute of Management
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Koze, Stephanie
Publication:Canadian Manager
Date:Dec 22, 1992
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