Originally published in ARTSJOURNAL.
One of my favorite days at the recent NAS seminar mentioned in a previous post was the day led by Jeff DeGraff on Leading Innovation. Dr. DeGraff aka Jeff showed us his “Competing Values Model.” The model offers a way to think about four different kinds of innovation that can produce benefits: Do things first, Do things fast, Do things right, and Do things that last. Or, put another way, innovation around creation of new things, innovation around competition and speed, innovation around internal systems and structures, and innovation around practice. He walked us through the model and talked about how to think about the kind of innovation a leader may be naturally inclined to produce. You can take a test to see where you land here. I am strongly in the green zone with yellow as my #2. Where are you?
The point of Jeff’s presentation is not that one kind of innovation is preferable, but rather that in understanding one’s own style it is possible to plan for ways to optimize your results by understanding not only what strengths you have, but also those you don’t. I guess I’m not the one to be put in charge of “streamlining internal work processes,” ” complying with regulations,” or ”compelling suppliers to reduce costs.” But if you want to “integrate personal and professional goals,” “jumpstart breakthrough experiments,” or “launch radical change programs” I’m going to be better suited to the tasks at hand. Read more about Jeff’s work at his Innovatrium or check out one of his books, like Creativity at Work.