Myth Busting Innovation

MythAre you being taken in by innovation myths? Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic debunks three falsehoods about being innovative within an organization in a recent Fast Company article.

1. The Personality Cult: While it’s true that some individuals are more innovative than others, it’s the side-kick and/or creative team that turn the vision into a concrete product. The qualities that make an individual innovative are more likely related to certain personality traits like “a hungry mind, openness to new experiences, and problems with authority,” says Chamorro-Premuzic. But we should remember that “innovation is always the product of teams, rather than the heroic effort of isolated individuals,” he continues.

2. The Glorification of Risk: “It is popular opinion that risk and innovation go hand in hand…The fact is that innovation requires a very small dose of risk,” says Chamorro-Premuzic. “Of course,” he continues, “there are risks associated with any innovation–as Jeff Bezos noted, if you know it’s going to work, then it’s not an experiment. But that’s precisely why a cautionary approach to innovation is more likely to pay off.”

3. The Confidence Delusion: “Most people overestimate how creative they really are,” says Chamorro-Premuzic. “This positive self-delusion creates three major problems,” he continues. First, self-deluded individuals are less likely to continually better themselves since they think they’re already creative enough. Second, it is easy to mistake confidence for competence. Third, when the confidence outshines competence, individuals are likely to be seen as entitled and narcissistic by their peers – not a healthy way to inspire creativity.

“Crucially, innovation requires a series of coordinated management efforts and effective leadership. People will always differ in their creative potential, but with the right culture in place every employee will feel compelled to unleash their creative potential,” concludes Chamorro-Premuzic.