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Top 5 Personal Skills, Traits for Collaboration and Open Innovation

by Stefan Lindegaard
January 18, 20131/18/13 7 Comments

While I worked on a blog post on the intersection of introverts and innovation in the social era, I got to ponder on the personal skills and traits that enable collaboration and open innovation.

What are they? Well, there are many, but here you get my top five on what is important. It would be great to hear your take on this.

Curiosity: Open innovation requires an open mind. Trust me, not everyone working with innovation has an open mind, and that problem tends to be even more prevalent when innovation comes in the form of R&D. The more closely held innovation has been in the past, the more difficult it is for people to suddenly adopt a mindset where they have to be open minded about ideas coming in from outside sources. It takes a lot to kill a “not invented here” mentality.

Empathy: Empathy is a key element in the oft-mentioned T-shape. Good innovators can view situations and challenges from different angles and this requires empathy.

Communication: You need to be able to express not only your needs, but also what you bring to the table. This is true on the personal as well as the corporate level.

Adaptiveness: You need to be flexible and adaptive in a world where the only constant is change.

Drive: You need to strike the proper balance of thinking, planning, reflecting – and just getting things done. Experimentation is key for the latter as we operate in a world where the pace of business – and change – is very fast high and keeps getting faster. Thus, you must be able to start things without knowing the expecting outcomes in detail. Perhaps we can call this a “controlled” drive where you are prepared to experiment and perhaps even fail. If not, you might not get things done in time.

This is a quick and dirty top 5. What is your take?

Currently there are "7 comments" on this Article:

  1. Hi Stefan – I would add the ability to network. This goes beyond communication, which as you point out is also necessary.

  2. Manfredi says:

    Thinking out of the box

  3. Stefan Lindegaard says:

    You're right. Networking abilities should of course be on the top 5 list. My bad 🙂

  4. Dimtirios Salampasis says:

    I think an important element which is not a skill or trait is trustworthiness. Since open innovation is implemented via collaborative developments and relationships trustworthiness and high moral standards is the ultimate starting point

  5. Ashoke Mitra says:

    Another very important personal trait that needs to be developed is the ability to negotiate both with internal and external customers. In fact when recruiting people for this type of a role in any organization those having an inherent ability to negotiate will be a productive asset for the organization. This is from my personal experiences in a Connect and Develop role at P&G in the past.

  6. Hi Stefan, working in the OI arena requires the willingness to take risks and accept that you may fail very publicly. Lots of innovators get very nervous when their baby can be scrutinized in too much detail in public.

  7. Hans Zwaga says:

    Wouldn't openmindness and referal of initial judgment be in your top skills list?