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7 Critical Personal Competencies for Open Innovation Success

by Stefan Lindegaard
November 18, 201011/18/10 8 Comments

The personal competencies needed for open innovation success is a topic that I really care about and thus it is a key element in my book, The Open Innovation Revolution and in many of my blog posts.

This time, I am pleased to be able to share some perspectives from Gail Martino, Open Innovation Manager at Unilever in the form of excerpts from a presentation given by Gail a few months ago.

Personally, I think it is great to see how a company such as Unilever recognizes how important soft skills are for open innovation. Gail, thanks for sharing this!

Here you get seven critical personal competencies needed for open innovation success according to Unilever.

Intrepreneurial Skills:
– see opportunities and drive an opportunity forward with and within an organization…sometimes before the organization knows they need it.

Key Traits/Behaviors:

• Is aware of and enables new ideas – from anywhere

• At ease outside their “comfort zone”

• Non complacent – boundary pusher

• Self-driven; Risk taker

• Not afraid to fail

Talent for Relationship Building:
– within and outside the organization.

Key Traits/Behaviors:

• Is Genuine – Builds trust

• Represents the partner well to the organization

• Listener – Key for building Win-Win deals

Strategic Influencing:
– to persuade, inspire and garner support.

Key Traits/Behaviors:

• Politically astute, high organizational awareness

• Knows when, how and with whom to gain support

• Top notch communication skills

Quick Study:
– self-driven to become up to speed in new areas (critical skill to help showcase and gain support of others).

Key Traits/Behaviors:

• Ability to develop expertise, sometimes outside of their area of expertise quickly

• Curious • Resourceful

Tolerance for Uncertainty:
– able to manage high risk projects and make decisions without perfect information about outcome.

Key Traits/Behaviors:

• Manages risks through milestones and keeps moving forward

• Doesn’t plan for failure – plans to avoid it

Balanced Optimism:
– keeps above the fray.

Key Traits/Behaviors:

• Knowledgeable about risks as well as rewards

• Overcomes moods and emotional states to keep moving forward

• Nonreactive; Evaluates criticism but moves on

– energy to more forward and overcome roadblocks.

Key Traits/Behaviors:

• Infectious energy

• Sees opportunity, not just issues

Currently there are "8 comments" on this Article:

  1. adela says:

    Nice update about individual competences for Open Innovation, I recommend you a good article about both individual and organisational competences for Open Innovation, it is called:

    "Organizational Competences for Open Innovation in Small and Medium Sized Enterprises of the Digital Economy (2010)" by Joachim Hafkesbrink, Markus Schroll and you can find it here:

  2. Your articles are really impressive. Personal competencies such as those mentioned in this articles are competencies that some people are not aware of. For Example: "Talent for Relationship Building". This type of competency will really help a person in his or her success. Only a few people know this and hopefully after people would read your article they would be aware of it.

    Great Article. Keep it up. Kzee

  3. Tiki LGS says:

    Do you know Dr Belbin? http://www.belbin.com/

    Maybe an adaptation of his concepts to innovation and open innovation ?
    but maybe it is ok as it is !

    For my experience his concepts apply when you build a team. One or several missing team roles in the team and it cannot succeed really!

  4. "Organizational Competences for Open Innovation in Small and Medium Sized Enterprises of the Digital Economy (2010)" by Joachim Hafkesbrink, Markus Schroll and you can find it here:

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  6. problem says:

    Your article is very interesting! Thanks a lot!! I'm really impressed. Thanks for advices you have give to us! Gail artino is also good man!

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