5 Factors Of A Personal Innovation Quotient

What’s your I.Q.?

What’s your personal I.Q.?

I’m not talking about intelligence quotient. I’m talking about your innovation quotient.

Let’s call it an IN.Q. – pronounced “in-queue”

How innovative are you, personally?

Wouldn’t it be great if everyone had a personal innovation “score” like that? A metric that we could use to determine how innovative a person was. I’d love to see it on resumes or LinkedIn profiles.

We would calculate IN.Q. by gathering all the elements that make someone innovative.

What are the elements of personal innovation?

First, a burning desire to learn, to read, to expand their mind, to expand their consciousness.  There’s very few innovators that I know of who don’t spend a lot of time absorbing information. You hear about CEOs with giant lists of books that they’ve read or are about to read. They spend tons of time absorbing information into their heads and processing it. The propensity to want to learn would be the first factor in one’s IN.Q.

Secondly, open-mindedness. How open are you to listening to people, to listening to new ideas, to listening to new (and often) differing opinions? In fact, I would argue that only or largely listening to people who you agree with makes you less innovative. Listening to and reading contrarian viewpoints make you more open minded. If you are the first person to say – or think – “don’t go there” when interesting innovative far out concepts are described, you may not do very well on the open-mindedness score. Open-mindedness is the second factor.

The third thing that I would include in this personal innovation quotient would be to travel. To move. To work and live in different physical places. I’m not even talking about international travel, but basically working, living, and experiencing new actual new places and meeting new people. Physically taking yourself and inserting yourself into different surroundings will help you experience new things and new people. You will learn things you would never have been able to do if you were just sitting behind your desk or in that co-working space (or in that same coffee shop) day after day. I’ve talked before about how important someone’s external environment is to their performance. This part of your quotient would be based on your physical movement. Might even be trackable by your wearable device. Placing yourself in different physical locations would be factor three.

Fourth, how much time do you take to simply think. To let all that information that you absorbed above to sink in, to mash up with other ideas, to percolate. Just spending the time to simply sit and think and noodle. You can be doing other things when you’re doing this: driving, shopping showering. Taking those Tetris pieces of ideas and thoughts and reflections and soundbites and just putting them together in different ways. Take the time to do that thinking. What percentage of your time is spent thinking? That’s factor four.

Finally, I would say that’s highly important for someone’s personal innovation quotient to include the propensity to take risks. The ability or the openness to take that leap. To break out of your comfort zone. To do something new and different. To do something they’ve never done before.

One of the reasons why people think that younger people are more innovative than older people or can come up with newer ideas is because they are more open minded to risk but I think what being open minded to risk has absolutely nothing to do with your age or social status in life. Being open to risk is completely independent of anything. Risk taking ability should also be factored into your IN.Q,

This is not a bad idea, actually. Maybe there’s a startup idea here, using big data and predictive analytics to generate an IN-Q, and putting it on your LinkedIn profile. I smell a future Microsoft aquihire 😉

Is there something else that I’m missing? Are there other factors which make someone innovative?

Let me know in the comments below…