Here's the thing: for engineering we recruit engineers, for marketing we recruit marketeers, for accounting, we recruit accountants, and so on. And for innovation? That's where we put reliable employees, with know-how and experience. But not necessarily people with the right Innovative Work Behavior (IWB) and innovation profiles. Because being innovative is not a cognitive quality based on IQ or knowledge level.

Can someone be more innovative than another?

Yes, some people can be more innovative than others due to a variety of factors such as individual ability, intrinsic motivation and passion to innovate. Innovation is not just about having an idea, but it also involves implementing and creating value from that idea.

What is Innovative Work Behavior (IWB)?

This is where Innovative Work Behavior (IWB) comes into play. IWB refers to three possible competence groups: someone can be an ideator, who sees and analyses problems ahead of others and develops new solutions around them; a champion, in turn, generates enthusiasm and support for those solutions, and knows how to free up investment for them; finally, the implementer is he or she who sees the development potential, builds prototypes, enables implementation, and follows up optimization.

Together, these three types ensure that innovative ideas - which are not enough on their own - become reality. With any luck, your organisation will have someone running around who incorporates all three competences, but this is not a must, as long as the ideator, champion and implementer around innovation work as a team. Let this also be clear: this is not a value judgment towards employees who appear not to have any of those competences: knowledge and experience are also valuable assets to achieve innovation. However, do not let those employees take the lead because they have those functional qualities. They also need to have strong skills needed for Innovative Work Behavior.

How to measure IWB?

Being "innovative" can be compared to driving a car. Most people aspire to be a "good driver," but this self-assessment is subjective. A peer review is also biased by the peer's own driving style, and experts within the organization may only look for individuals who share their own thinking patterns (mini-me’s).

The most objective way to determine who is the best driver is to conduct a practical driving test on a circuit and compare your results to those of a professional racing driver. Similarly, to assess one's innovation skills, objective measures are needed, and that identification is possible thanks to the scientific Situational Judgement Test, which developed in cooperation with the University of Ghent. That way, you can compose perfect complementary IWB’s as an organization.

What do our customers achieve when working with us and our Situational Judgement Test:

  • An overview of the individual IWB of their fellow-workers
  • Defining the roles in which people will contribute the most value to the innovation team
  • A visual dashboard of their human innovation potential to enable the building of complementary teams
  • An organizational IWB benchmark: how strong is their human innovation potential compared to others

No innovation competencies, no innovation.

Stay tuned to learn more about The Human Side of Innovation.

Upcoming topics:

- No leadership buy-in, no innovation.
- No innovation climate, no innovation.
- No knowledge sharing, no innovation.
- No communication and feedback, no innovation.
- No openness to change, no innovation.

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