The Five Discovery Skills of Innovators

In a post on the HBS blog titled How Do Innovators Think?, a pair of professors who interviewed 3,000 creative executives riff on the five skills common to all:

The first skill is what we call "associating." It's a cognitive skill that allows creative people to make connections across seemingly unrelated questions, problems, or ideas.

The second skill is questioning — an ability to ask "what if", "why", and "why not" questions that challenge the status quo and open up the bigger picture.

The third is the ability to closely observe details, particularly the details of people's behavior.

Another skill is the ability to experiment — the people we studied are always trying on new experiences and exploring new worlds.

And finally, they are really good at networking with smart people who have little in common with them, but from whom they can learn.

Later, they talk about inquisitiveness and curiosity being paramount.

(thanks Zoelle Enger for sending)


Elsewhere in the world of creativity, the always-interesting David Shenk interviews pianist Keith Jarrett who "emphasizes, paradoxically, how critical it is to clear his mind and set himself free from his own knowledge and habits." To unleash new creative bursts, Jarrett tries to not do what comes naturally on the keyboard.

Also, here's a piece on how falling in love can make you more creative. Thinking about love causes us to think more "globally."

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