The Perfect Innovation Team

In my new book ‘The Innovation Expedition’ I love to refer in discussions on innovation teams to The Mayo Clinic's Center for Innovation. The Mayo Clinic is a best-practice organization, which was researched in APQC's Innovation: Putting Ideas into Action 2009 study. It favors a specific combination of personalities when it builds innovation teams.

The Mayo Clinic strives to include the following nine personality types when composing innovation teams:

  1. The Visionary — The force behind creating the world as it could be-and should be.
  2. The Generator — The generator of the idea that gets an innovation rolling.
  3. The Iterator — An idea-engineer who takes the original idea and turns it into an innovation.
  4. The Customer Anthropologist — The keen observer of what customers truly hunger for.
  5. The Tech Guru — The harnesser of technology to turn the innovation into reality.
  6. The Producer — The champion of flow. The master of moving ideas along.
  7. The Communicator — Amplifies and clarifies the idea in the minds of others outside the team.
  8. The Roadblock Remover — With a hammer- or velvet gloves- knocks away organization, political, and financial roadblocks.
  9. The Futurecaster — The forecaster and modeler of the economic and social value of the future of innovation.

Does your innovation team fits these descriptions?

Source: “Innovation: Putting Ideas into Action 2009 (Best Practices Report)”, APQC, Houston, USA.

By Gijs van Wulfen

About the author


Gijs van Wulfen (The Netherlands, 1960) is the founder of the FORTH innovation method. FORTH is an effective and structured method for ideating innovative products and services. His latest book is “The Innovation Expedition: a visual toolkit to start innovation”. His clients are international companies in industry and services, as well as non-profit organizations in government and health. Gijs also trains facilitators in his method.

Gijs is a key-note speaker at international innovation conferences, chosen by Linkedin as one of their 150 Thought Leaders and the #2 in the Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2012.

Photo: Close up of a men’s quadruple skulls rowing from shutterstock.com

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