From Brilliance to Burden: The Hazards of an In-House Tinkerer
Insights - 13.06.2023
The terms "tinkerer" and "innovator" represent different approaches to problem-solving and solution creation.
Do you have an in-house tinkerer? If any of the following symptoms resonate with you, then you might indeed have one!
Tinkerers possess hands-on tinkering and experimentation skills, which can contribute certain qualities to innovation. However, they may not always be the best innovators due to several reasons:
Tinkerers often tend to focus on immediate problem-solving and tinkering with existing technologies or systems. Their expertise typically revolves around a specific area of interest, limiting their scope of innovation. While tinkering can lead to valuable insights and incremental improvements, it can also be a time-consuming and inefficient process of trial and error. Additionally, tinkerers often develop strong emotional attachments to their creations, making it difficult for them to let go, adapt, or pivot when necessary. Furthermore, their independent nature and lack of collaborative skills can hinder successful innovation, as collaborative teamwork and effective communication with diverse stakeholders are often crucial.
Combination of tinkering skills and innovation capabilities
While tinkerers can certainly contribute to the innovation process, it is important to recognize their strengths and limitations. To foster impactful innovation, a combination of tinkering skills and broader innovation capabilities is needed. This includes strategic thinking, interdisciplinary knowledge, efficiency, adaptability, and collaboration. By embracing a holistic approach to innovation, organizations can effectively leverage the strengths of tinkerers while incorporating the necessary skills and perspectives for long-term success.
To address these challenges, here are some quick fixes:
- Complementarity of Innovative Work Behavior: Tinkerers, as implementors, benefit from the presence of ideators and champions within a team to foster effective innovation. (link blog 1)
- Identifying the Root Cause: It is crucial to identify and address the underlying root cause of a problem, rather than merely treating surface-level symptoms, to achieve meaningful and sustainable solutions. (Current Reality Tree)
- Embracing External Cross-Industry Knowledge: Gaining insights and perspectives from external industries and domains can greatly enhance innovative problem-solving.
Embrace the value of having an in-house tinkerer, but safeguard against potential pitfalls