Fostering Innovative Thinking

By interviewing and surveying 3,500 visionary entrepreneurs over a six-year period, a pair of professors believe they have identified the five habits and skills common to ‘creative executives’ that distinguish them from the rest:

  • Associating: the skill of connecting seemingly unrelated questions, problems and ideas.
  • Questioning, especially “questions that challenge the status quo and open up the bigger picture”.
  • Close observation of details, particularly of people’s behaviour.
  • Experimentation.
  • Networking with smart people who have little in common with them, but from whom they can learn”.

In this Harvard Business Review article the two researches go on to talk of the key role inquisitiveness plays in creativity–that same curiosity one of the researchers found throughout a similar 20-year study looking at “great global leaders” and that you find in children.

We […] believe that the most innovative entrepreneurs were very lucky to have been raised in an atmosphere where inquisitiveness was encouraged. We were stuck by the stories they told about being sustained by people who cared about experimentation and exploration. Sometimes these people were relatives, but sometimes they were neighbors, teachers or other influential adults. A number of the innovative entrepreneurs also went to Montessori schools, where they learned to follow their curiosity.

via Ben Casnocha