After working in an Innovation team for the last year it’s become apparent that there are four sorts of “innovation-getters” in organisations:
1. The Talkers
High level bods who “get” innovation because it’s fashionable and makes them look forward thinking if they talk about it. This sort of person will, in words at least, be a big proponent of innovation but they won’t actually do anything to prioritise innovation, or implement innovation themselves. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; talking about it paves the way for others to act on their behalf (as long as the talker doesn’t become a blocker), and does help clear the way for the Do-ers. The Talkers can be found talking to the Enablers and the Do-ers, and will take an interest in what the Blockers have to say.
2. The Enablers
The Enablers are people at senior levels of the organisation who get, and actively encourage, innovation. Not only will they talk about it at a high level of the organisation, but they will make sure it actually happens. They will go out of their way to clear the path for the Do-ers and keep a keen eye on successes and failures. The Enablers are frequently found talking to the Do-ers.
3. The Do-ers
The Do-ers are the people in the organisation who actually act on and implement innovation (not necessarily within an Innovation team). They are usually a mix of quiet geniuses who are happy to innovate without shouting about it, and those who are equally happy creating great things as they are at promoting their/ their team’s activities. Often found talking to the Enablers and trying to win round the Talkers and the Blockers.
4. The Blockers
And then, of course, there’s the people who get innovation and believe it is a threat. They will go out of their way to prevent change as they see it as negatively disruptive and not in the best interests of themselves or the organisation. The Blockers may hold their beliefs for selfish (i.e. self-preservation) reasons, or because they genuinely believe innovation is not appropriate for the organisation. Frequently found in conflict with the Do-ers, the Enablers and the Talkers.
All four sorts of Innovation-Getters have their place in different organisations, and it isn’t necessarily a bad thing if they all co-exist and frequently clash.
Have you experienced these four sorts of people in your organisation? Are there any types you think I’ve missed?