It sounds so tempting to be called an innovator for many people. In a world where innovation is in every aspect of life and work, people search for recognition that they have created something new and buzz. Our ego often misleads us that something we have made differently shows leadership, innovation, etc.
One of my university colleagues and a great organizational change psychologist has studied people’s characteristics who like to experiment with everything. The research was conducted back in 2020 in 6 different industries, calling themselves innovators. The participants’ list was more than 4000 people. From this research, there were eight other characteristics of the experimenter evolved. With my friend’s permission, I m sharing them with you. They can help you assess your readiness level to experiment in life and work and bring real innovation to the table.
Infers the new
People who like to try new things do not have the patience to bring them to an end before announcing them to others. It is tempting to share a unique “promising” opportunity they engage with as fast as possible. They want the world to know that something new, surprising, and unique is coming. There is no question of when here, but only the question of what is coming.
People who like to bring new things to the table have a wild imagination. Their brain thinks in different possible final solutions. They imagine the process, the great final product, and even the glory they will experience after presenting it to the world. These are possible outcomes that form the vision for the future and the approach to reach that vision’s final state.
Every new product, service, or revolutionary device has a fifty percent chance to live its life. Innovators know that there is always a risk of failing while trying to innovate. What makes them different is that they do not think of failure as a dead end but as another opportunity to find the best solution. The risk is part of the game and who has never played the game risky has never won is like a mantra for them.
Have you recently heard or watched Elon Musk speaking? If NO, then find one of his speeches, and you will quickly see how he manipulates the masses. Innovative and experiment-driven people need to deal with others’ uncertainty and stoppers to change. In some situations, they can lower the reality’s pressure or increase it to provoke a wake-up call for the people around them. But speculations are not meant to cause harm; instead, they are used to encourage and push the experiment forward.
Did you have a person in your circle who makes something and starts working or talking about something else? People who like to experiment often change the rules or the way they act. They can quickly be bored with an unsuccessful realization of an idea and move on hundred and eighty degrees to try something new. The innovator may look gusty, rash, and reckless to the rational type of people, but this makes him unique. His inexhaustible energy moves him forward and creates change for others.
There is a book published several years ago titled – “First break the rules.” Innovators and people who want to experiment can not stand the rules. Standards and regulations for them are there to stop the progress and change and make people work in silos. Although it is not valid for every situation, the rules are blocking them from moving forward. That is why people who like to experiment also focus on searching for ways to minimize the impact of the standards on their work and create something out of the box.
If you present a new situation to a skeptic person, you will probably get a long list of why you should not do that. People who like to experiment are in a different scale of behavior. They want new things and welcome surprises. They see an opportunity for something new and a possible upgrade for the current situation in every shock. Surprises make them more energetic and focused, and mobilized to achieve results.
Is curious and likes to play
I have had both types in my teams – the skeptic and the experiment-ready person. I liked most experiment-ready people because she was willing to play and make things look like a game. In games and sport, we challenge ourselves by others, rules, computers, etc. This makes everything interesting. It creates endless opportunities for winning. We make changes to see if a new approach can work for us, change the configuration, etc. The more curious we are, the more we find new solutions and create opportunities. The person who wants to experiment represents this curiosity and willingness to play the game in a high manner.
Experiments are not for everyone. Often, blind by our ego, we tend to build an imaginary self look for ourselves that does not correspond to the real us. Assessing our ability honestly, willingness, and attitude toward change and experimentation can help us overcome many challenges that we create for ourselves.