How Innovators Think

IBM has a reputation for corporate precision and blue suits. It also has a well-earned reputation for innovation. The reason can be traced to IBM’s single-word mantra, “Think.”

Innovators think. Furthermore, they think about thinking, and they think in certain ways.

In a great article in Fast Company entitled “Lessons in Innovation From Six of the World’s Most Creative Thinkers,” authors Ali Rushdan and Alrick Pagnon describe how some of the world’s best innovators think, including Hayao Miyazaki, Maya Angelou, Jeff Bezos, Ferran Adrià, Bunker Roy, and Sangeeta Bathia.

Here are three characteristics of how innovators think.

  • Innovators think mindfully. Because creativity is, as Steve Jobs famously said, “just making connections,” innovators are relentlessly curious. They seek diversity in order to gather plenty of raw material from which creative solutions are made. They think about what they are thinking about, and don't forget to ask "Why?"
  • Innovators think about people. Innovators are empathetic. They seek innovative solutions in order to provide real value to real people, that is, the customer. After all, without people, there is no innovation.
  • Innovators think laterally. Innovators are collaborative. They understand that innovation springs from people. Data is great, but people interpret its meaning and execute plans. As Peter Drucker declared, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” 

Execution is a highly prized component of success, and rightfully so, but don’t forget to THINK!

Lessons In Innovation From Six Of The World's Most Creative Thinkers