I see and read so much about offers to teach or facilitate innovation, but what is innovation? Innovation has less to do with technical skill and IQ, then relationships and systems.
- Innovation is risk;
- Innovation is dialogue;
- Innovation is opportunity (also known as diversity); and
- Innovation is failure and recovery
All the above and more. For certain, thought, innovation and creativity is not captured in a bottle. Professionals in a knowledge economy are not innovative only from the hours of nine to five.
What makes someone innovative? Is it IQ and IQ’s measure of problem solving, pattern recognition, and memory? Is it technical skill acquired through study and experience? No, what separates professionals is not IQ or technical skills, but Emotional Intelligence:
- Studies of people in high-IQ professions requiring advanced degrees such as Ph.D.’s and M.B.A’s for entry into a field, IQ and training do not differentiate star performers. Emotional Intelligence (EI) accounts for as much as 80% of the variance in differentiating star performers from average performers in these populations. These groups comprise highly intelligent and trained professionals.
- A long-term study of Ph.D. scientists found that social and emotional abilities were 4 times more important than IQ and training in determining overall career success and level of personal prestige in the scientists’ chosen field of study.
- The higher people rise in the ranks of management, the more likely they are to have distorted self-perceptions. Senior level managers are likely to rate themselves as much higher on emotional and social competencies than their peers and direct reports rate them.
- Reports show that IQ and technical skills make up only 1/3rd of the variance outstanding performers have from average performer Emotional Intelligence accounts for the remaining 2/3rd variance from average performers.
Silence, You Ninny
No, innovation is not an earned degree, it is both a skill and an ability – but most importantly innovation relies on motivation. Motivation? Are you innovative:
- Do you ask good questions or do you listen without judgment or without looking to interrupt?
- Do you allow yourself and people around you to remain in the moment?
- Have people told you that you are a good listener?
- Are you known to cultivate, mentor, or develop others or are you surrounded with people afraid to point out an opinion different than yours or alternate view from yours?
- Are you risky or risk-averse looking to always do what is safe and expected?
You are surrounded by smart (IQ) and technically accomplished people, but who are innovators? Who are the people who lead by example and inspire greatness in others?
Some are born with higher Emotional Intelligence skills, but these skills can dull if not maintained.
Yes, the most promising aspect of Emotional Intelligence is that, like a muscle, anyone can build and increase their emotional intelligence competence. Competence areas such as: self-awareness, self motivation, social awareness, and relationship management are the bedrock of Emotional Intelligence and the bedrock for providing an innovative culture and developing innovative people.
Oh, the Pain
Yes, just like working out or exercise takes motivation, so too, does identification that Emotional Intelligence, like exercise, is important and that working to improve your Emotional Intelligence takes motivation, not rhetoric.
I invite you to challenge your IQ in a more innovative fashion and see how Emotional Intelligence will raise yourself and your organization above your competition. This economy demands more Emotional Intelligence, it simply lacks innovation to expect otherwise.
I invite your comments or questions and look forward to talk about emotional intelligence, innovation, and creativity.
Learn more about Emotional Intelligence and a compilation of the set of figures highlighted above.
You can take a free Emotional Intelligence test at The Hay Group where I was certified in Emotional Intelligence. The Hay Group site offers a rich resource for further study.
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