The 3 Most Enduring Innovation Skills

The 3 Most Enduring Innovation Skills
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Summary: Of the many skills and qualities that fuel innovation, three stand out as the most enduring and transformative: developing a growth mindset, cultivating curiosity, and amplifying storytelling. Find out more about them and see how you can change the way you think.

A Guide To Becoming An Innovative Thinker

In an ever-evolving world of constant change, innovation has become vital to tackle change. Innovation can be defined as generating solutions that add value at scale. There are numerous tomes of research examining the skills and behaviors innovators need, including the classic book [1] by Christiansen, Dyer, and Gregersen, "The Innovator's DNA." While these skills are important, innovators must also be able to think differently, collaborate effectively, and help others share their own ideas. Of the many skills and qualities that fuel innovation, three stand out as the most enduring and transformative: developing a growth mindset, cultivating curiosity, and amplifying storytelling. Together, these three skills form a powerful trifecta that not only propels individuals and organizations forward but also ensures enduring success in the face of an ever-evolving future.

3 Needed Skills For Innovation

Growth Mindset: Nurturing A Culture of Continuous Improvement

The concept of a growth mindset, popularized by psychologist Carol S. Dweck in her book "Mindset" [2], revolves around the belief that abilities and intelligence can be developed through dedication and hard work. Developing a growth mindset fosters a culture of continuous improvement, where challenges are seen as opportunities to learn and grow rather than insurmountable obstacles. A growth mindset is the cornerstone of adaptability, fostering a culture where challenges are embraced as stepping stones to improvement.

In an era where change is constant, the ability to view setbacks as opportunities for learning is critical to thriving in any endeavor. In the realm of innovation, a growth mindset is the catalyst that propels individuals and organizations forward. It encourages risk-taking, resilience, and a willingness to experiment with new ideas. Innovators with a growth mindset view failure not as a setback but as a stepping stone toward success. This mindset shift is crucial in an era where rapid change is the norm and adaptability is a prized asset.

Organizations that prioritize a growth mindset empower their employees to think beyond their current capabilities. Google, for instance, famously encourages its employees to spend 20% of their work time on personal projects, fostering a culture that values creativity and autonomy. This mindset not only enhances individual performance but also cultivates an environment where innovation thrives.

Curiosity: Igniting The Spark Of Innovation

At the heart of every groundbreaking discovery and transformative idea lies an insatiable curiosity. Sparking curiosity serves as the driving force that compels individuals to explore the unknown, question the status quo, and seek novel solutions to existing problems. It's the spark that ignites the flame of innovation. Curiosity is also the relentless pursuit of knowledge and understanding. It fuels creativity, encourages exploration, and enables individuals to connect disparate pieces of information, driving breakthroughs that shape the future.

In the context of innovation, curiosity is not merely about asking questions but about cultivating a mindset that constantly seeks to understand, discover, and connect disparate pieces of information. Curious individuals are not content with surface-level knowledge; they delve deeper and are always hungry for insights that can lead to breakthroughs.

In the business world, companies like Apple have thrived on the curiosity of their founders and employees. Steve Jobs' relentless curiosity about design, technology, and user experience fueled the creation of iconic products that revolutionized entire industries. Apple's commitment to fostering a culture of curiosity continues to drive its innovation engine, ensuring a global audience eagerly anticipates each product launch. Curiosity also plays a crucial role in interdisciplinary collaboration. Innovations often emerge at the intersection of different fields, and individuals who possess a broad range of interests and a curious mindset are better equipped to make these connections. By encouraging employees to explore diverse disciplines, companies can enhance their capacity for innovation and create solutions that transcend traditional boundaries.

Storytelling: Bridging The Gap Between Ideas And Impact

Innovation is not only about generating ideas but also about effectively communicating and implementing them. Storytelling is the bridge that connects innovative ideas with their real-world impact. Whether you're persuading stakeholders, inspiring a team, or capturing the imagination of the public, the ability to tell a compelling story is a skill that transcends industries. A well-crafted narrative has the power to make complex ideas accessible and relatable. It humanizes innovation, transforming abstract concepts into stories that resonate with people on a personal level. This emotional connection is vital for garnering support, whether it is from investors, customers, or internal teams.

Elon Musk, the visionary entrepreneur behind companies like Tesla and SpaceX, is a master storyteller. His ability to articulate a compelling vision for the future, whether it's colonizing Mars or transitioning the world to sustainable energy, has been instrumental in attracting both talent and investment to his ventures. Musk understands that a captivating narrative not only captures attention but also inspires action.

Storytelling is often underestimated, but it is actually the linchpin that transforms innovative ideas into tangible impact. It bridges the gap between concepts and reality, capturing hearts and minds to garner support and inspire action. Whether it's persuading investors, motivating teams, or engaging the public, the art of storytelling is the conduit through which innovation achieves resonance and lasting significance. Storytelling is a powerful tool for knowledge transfer within organizations. When team members can convey their ideas in the form of a story, it enhances understanding and retention. This is particularly important in the fast-paced world of innovation, where ideas need to be communicated efficiently to drive implementation.


In the dynamic landscape of innovation, where change is the only constant, enduring skills such as a growth mindset, curiosity, and storytelling form the cornerstone of success. Embracing a growth mindset creates a culture of continuous improvement; curiosity fuels the spark of innovation; and storytelling bridges the gap between ideas and impact.

As individuals and organizations navigate the challenges of the future, cultivating these skills will not only drive innovation in organizations but also foster a resilient and adaptive workforce. By instilling a commitment to growth, encouraging curiosity, and honing the art of storytelling, we can navigate the uncertain terrain of tomorrow and transform challenges into opportunities for enduring success in the face of adversity and constant change.

Further Reading:

[1] The Innovator's DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators

[2] Mindset, by Carol S. Dweck