In most companies, executives don’t feel personally responsible for being innovative. Strangely, they tend to feel that they are responsible for facilitating innovation, but that’s entirely different than actually coming up with the grand concepts that have created unique new business models and products.

According to a six-year study conducted by Harvard Business Review authors, there are five habits that reveal the underpinnings of creative thinking. Here they are: Top 5 Habits of Innovators

  1. Associating. That’s the ability to successfully connect seemingly unrelated questions, problems, or ideas.
  2. Questioning. Constantly asking questions that challenge common wisdom is vital for real innovation.
  3. Observing. Innovators pay close attention to everything around them, including the behaviors of others, and process that information to discover how to do things differently.
  4. Experimenting. Innovators actively try out new ideas by creating prototypes or launching pilot projects. Not everything will work, but as Edison said, “I haven’t failed. I’ve simply found 10,000 ways that do not work.”
  5. Networking. That means devoting time and energy to finding and testing new ideas through a network of individuals and organizations. Most of all, innovators are preoccupied with excellence in all of their efforts.

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