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I’m a big believer in people playing to their strengths, and this includes product team members and others involved in innovation. Not everyone has the same strengths – if we did, that would be a bit boring. Realizing how people approach innovation and their strengths is something Tamara Kleinberg accomplishes. Tamara has spent more years than she’ll admit brimming with ideas and launching and running entrepreneurial businesses. She is known for her ability to innovate from ideation to implementation and has brought to market products for very large brands. For the past 18 years she has advised companies such as Disney, Procter & Gamble, General Mills and Otterbox on fostering innovative ideas and people. She has run multi-million dollar businesses and launched a few of her own, including Launch Street, which provides resources for entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs.
In the interview, we discuss nine traits of innovators and how to identify the trait(s) that is your strength. The traits are:
- Risk Taker
Also, you will learn the two most important things to say after you present a new idea.
Practices and Ideas for Product Managers and Innovators
Summary of some questions discussed:
- What is the backstory on your Innovation Quotient Edge? The Innovation Quotient Edge (IQE) is the culmination of 20+ years of work and experience. I started my career in brand strategy and innovation in New York City in a big firm and in advertising on Madison Avenue. Then I branched off, with most of my work being in new product development for Fortune 500 consumer goods companies—Procter and Gamble, General Mills, Clorox, etc. Time and again I would hand innovative ideas to these brilliant people in these great companies. Yet a lot of them wouldn’t make it to market. Their ability to be innovative and drive change they needed to get the results was suffering. So I stepped back and thought about what was occurring. I always believed that if we did one or two things, we’d all be innovative. But in my work and research, what I actually discovered blew my assumptions out the door, about how innovation works. What I discovered is that we’re all innovative, but how we innovate is unique to each of us. In fact, there are nine human triggers of innovation and the combination of your top two triggers make your unique innovator profile.
- What are the nine traits? The image below provides a good summary of the nine traits. Listen to the interview to hear details about each.
- What is the language of innovation? When we present ideas we often force people into a yes or no vote. We share the idea and ask “What do you think?” Most people hate ideas that are new. We are programmed to poke holes in them. Instead, when presenting a new idea, ask:
- “What would you do to strengthen this idea?” and then
- “What holes do you see and how would you fill them?”
- Special resources from Tamara just for listeners, diving deeper into the Language of Innovation.
- Tamara’s website
- How entrepreneurs elevate communities and change the world: Tamara G. Kleinberg at TEDxCSU
- Connect with Tamara on LinkedIn
“The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.” – William Pollard
Thank you for being an Everyday Innovator and learning with me from the successes and failures of product innovators, managers, and developers. If you enjoyed the discussion, help out a fellow product manager by sharing it using the social media buttons you see below.