Some people might undeniably suggest that Richard Branson is the perfect example of successful innovators. We can all agree that there is a certain difficulty in establishing what makes an individual an innovator and what makes that innovator great.
Let’s try to put into words certain criteria that can be considered when evaluating an innovator.
First and foremost, an innovation is the process of translating a creative idea into a good or service that creates value for which customers will accept to pay. Hence, the main difference between creativity and innovation is execution. However, creativity alone is not sufficient for innovation. The latter requires also the development, production and actual implementation of the idea. This might explain why the number of innovators is fairly inferior to the number of innovations on the market and why at some point we have all generated great ideas that we never bothered to pursue.
The society needs more innovative leaders who have the capacity to turn new ideas into assets that will transform the way businesses work and positively influence new generations. A great innovator does things differently. Richard Branson completely revolutionized the air transport industry with Virgin Atlantic, pushing him to become one of the most influential entrepreneurs in the world.
What are the main character traits to become a distinguished innovator?
- Empathetic: in order to create new ways of doing, you must firstly understand to whom the product or service is targeted towards.
- Risk-takers: some might even argue that best practices are the enemy of innovation. It is important to tolerate mistakes and to tolerate to go off the beaten path.
- Observant: constantly looking around to record ideas or thoughts in order to link them to their own objectives. Ratan Tata got the inspiration for the world’s cheapest car by observing his family packed onto a single scooter.
- Curious: Evidently successful innovators don’t pull their innovations from thin air. They have an instinctive curiosity that pushes them to ask, “What happens if I put these two ideas together?”
- Stamina: you must have an urge to succeed and unshakeable perseverance. Instead of being derailed by challenges, you must use them as fuel to keep moving.
Let’s not forget they are also obsessive note-takers! With a working memory that can only process small fragments of information at a time, the brain of a great innovators is always flowing with ideas and they are incessantly taking notes. Thomas Edison alone left 3,500 notebooks behind at this death.