I was recently sent the outline of a book, “The Ten Faces of Innovation”, by Tom Kelley with Jonathan Littman (Profile, 2005) – buy it online at Amazon.com or Kalahari.net. In our work on “Invitational Innovation“, we have been telling clients for a long time that just like there are different types of personality, there are different styles of innovative thinking. Not a big thought, really, but an important one, nevertheless.
This book appears to put some nice labels on different innovation types.

When innovating, try acting out these different roles:
1. The Anthropologist
Anthropological researchers immerse themselves in alien cultures and observe carefully. This sort of intense observation is the single greatest source of innovation you can bring to your organization. Zen Buddhism calls this “the beginners’ mind”.
2. The Experimenter
Experimenters are persistent about solving problems. They try lots of prototypes, make drawings, and build and test models. Then, they take what they learn and start all over again.
3. The Cross-Pollinator
Cross-pollinators bring together disparate things.
4. The Hurdler
Hurdlers specialize in overcoming obstacles. You can’t defeat them by blocking the direct path to their goal – they’ll jump over it or work around it. Hurdlers treat every obstacle as an opportunity.
5. The Collaborator
Collaborators not only work well with others, they also generate connections among other people. They encourage teams from different disciplines to work together and work among parties to keep everyone on the same page.
6. The Director
Directors are planners and organizers.
7. The Experience Architect
Experience architects present ideas by appealing to the senses. Theyre interested in aesthetic pleasure as well as understanding.
8. The Set Designer
Set designers focus on making physical space both functional and pleasing.
9. The Caregiver
Caregivers have the ability to put people at ease, but their main concern is providing good service.
10. The Storyteller
Unlike facts, stories forge emotional connections between the teller and the audience. Storytellers can take the ordinary and reshape it into something special, creating inspirational myths and allegories.
About The Authors
Tom Kelley, who wrote The Art of Innovation, is managing director of IDEO, a creative design and innovation consultancy. Jonathan Littman is a contributing editor of the magazine Red Herring, and author of The Fugitive Game and The Watchman.

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