illustration heads showing the 4 characteristics of innovation

The 4 Characteristics of Innovation that are Essential

Are you an ideas person? Ok, so maybe you are not an “ideas person” but that doesn’t mean you don’t have the necessary characteristics to play a vital role in innovation.

By now, most of us understand that ideas are an important driving force in society.

A powerful idea can improve a company, create a new product, or even change the way that we live.

Given the power associated with ideas, so many of us are looking for opportunities to be the person who comes up with the next big idea.

While we love to glamorise the person who comes up with a great idea and sees it through, the reality is that ideas often have many different contributors.

Being the person who comes up with an idea is not the only way to bring an idea to life.

In this article, we will explore the different characteristics of people who influence innovation — and what makes each one so special and why they are essential.

Bringing an Idea to Life

An idea can grow with time but turning it into a solution isn’t a solo job.

Even the best ideas need different characteristics of people to see them turn into an innovation. While it is certainly possible for someone to have an idea and bring it to life on their own, it isn’t all that common.

The majority of good ideas are a team effort.

This is because an idea will often have different parts, which can require different skills and areas of expertise.

Consider this a good thing.

A lot of the time, the more people that are involved with an idea, the more likely it is that the idea will be refined and executed correctly.

You might not be the person who came up with the idea, but you can be one of the many people who make it all possible!

profile image of Ase Angland Lindvall, co-founder of Wide Ideas, on a transparent background

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Our Idea Management Software captures, nurtures and turns ideas into real solutions that drive change.


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The 4 Characteristics of Innovation

Teamwork is responsible for bringing an idea into the real world, and most good ideas have a dedicated team.

Each team member will bring their skills and contributions to make the idea possible.

When combined, the different kinds of individuals can help bring an idea to light in a way that surpasses what one person ever could have done alone. However, to deliver innovation successfully you need to include these four different characteristics of people into the process.

1. The Thinker

The Thinker is likely the most identifiable of the four characteristics of innovation that you will find.

This is the individual that will have that sudden and powerful flash of inspiration.

We often see this individual as the true “idea person”. This is because they are the ones who can come up with ideas and solutions on the fly.

Before an idea can be brought to life, someone has to come up with it.

More often than not, The Thinker is that person.

While The Thinker can come up with brilliant and powerful ideas, they tend to work as more of an inspiration machine.

This person will see an opportunity and run with it.

This leads them to come up with compelling solutions and or changes that can have effective long-term results. However, these individuals also tend to live in the moment.

They also might not have what it takes to bring the idea to life.

The Thinker is someone who can come up with an idea, but in many cases lack the depth needed to turn it into a practical solution.

A good example of this is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson during his recent reach into the energy drink market. He knew he wanted to create a healthy energy drink, but he partnered with others to make it a reality.

How do you determine the true value of an idea is a useful supplement article.

2. The Contributor

While The Thinker will often have the flash of inspiration, they generally need a little extra help.

This is where the second of the four characteristics of innovation comes in – The Contributor.

The Contributor is the type of person who can help to refine an idea and add depth to it.

These powerful team members can do some of the heavy liftings to make an idea better—and possible.

They might not have the idea, but they have the skills and practical knowledge to grow an idea into something that will translate well to the real world.

A good example of this is a Systems Analyst. These individuals’ partner with business departments and technology departments to find the middle ground between business needs and what technology makes possible to ensure the best possible outcome.

3. The Influencer

Most of us consider an influencer in a social media capacity. However, in business, this is slightly different but highly critical.

The Influencer is the third of the four characteristics of innovation.

They are very well connected and respected individuals and can bring together people with different areas of expertise to contribute to an idea.

Their primary role is to identify the right people and encourage them to contribute in some capacity.

6 Easy Ways to Boost Employee Engagement Ideas is a useful supplement article.

4. The Deliverer

The last of the four characteristics of innovation is The Deliverer.

This is a person who is responsible for turning the idea into a real business solution.

This can be an individual, but generally, they will lead a team to make the idea a reality.

A Project Manager might play this role as they oversee the team responsible for making an idea possible.


Ideas create companies, opportunities, and they can be a powerful force for change.

Even if you are not the person who comes up with an idea, do not convince yourself that your role is not important.

They often say that it takes a village to raise a child, and the same is true here.

It takes different characteristics of people with different talents to turn a good idea into an innovation, and that is how true change happens.

Written by Åse Angland-Lindvall

With relentless energy and an unrivalled vision for helping companies to be successful, a core skill she gained at her time at E.ON and Ericsson, Åse helps companies understand the need for continuous innovation.



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