Thoughts on what makes an innovator - in the public sector, private sector, & the organization


Some thoughts in response to a question on GovLoop--
1. Organizational Innovator
  • Always an outlier
  • Can see the whole, the future, the vision - very big picture thinker
  • Future-focused
  • Technology-oriented
  • Put things together that don't seem to connect
  • Idealistic not practical
  • Optimistic
  • Humanitarian on a grand scale but can be rude one on one
  • Not power or money hungry but definitely want to influence others
  • Not diplomatic - it's either innovative (good) or not innovative (bad)
  • Tend to overvalue your contribution and be a poor listener
  • Not swayed by "feeling" arguments - "we can be more efficient but it will hurt people's feelings"
2. Government Innovator
  • You understand and value government for what it is and your agency for what it is uniquely
  • Try to make things better within the subjective logic that is every unique agency system.
  • Achieve innovation that may not be much by private sector standards but that is significant in an agency setting
  • You don't attack or undermine the system because it's slow, bloated or inefficient - you focus only on making things better incrementally
  • You work in a team with other motivated people - you do not try to do it on your own
  • Examples: popularizing alternative dispute resolution or the concept of 24/7 employee staff care; getting people to use collaboration technology not hoard information
3. Private Sector Innovator
  • Focus is on making money
  • Creates a market for a new way of doing things that involves buying a new kind of product (e.g. Kindle when people are used to paper books) or brand (e.g. Lexus when people already buy cars)
  • Or - achieves significant operational efficiencies to cut costs (e.g. robotic surgery or virtual admin assistants; microtasking)

About

Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal is an author, independent brand researcher, and adjunct marketing professor with 20 years of varied experience. An avid researcher and prolific, creative writer, Dr. Blumenthal's interests span communication, marketing, qualitative media content analysis, political rhetoric, propaganda, leadership, management, organizational development, and more. An engaged citizen, she has for several years worked to raise awareness around child sex trafficking and the dangers of corruption at @drdannielle on Twitter. You can find her articles at Medium, www.AllThingsBrand.com and www.DannielleBlumenthal.com, and she frequently answers questions on Quora. All opinions are Dr. Blumenthal's own.