All innovators share common traits and skills that when put into action enables them to detect problems, come up with better ideas, recruit people and collaborate, sharpen their ideas and execute on them.
Some people may not have all of these skills, but what they can develop to be instrumental in driving and encouraging innovation is this: changing your mind.
One of the main ingredients for innovation is divergent thinking. creativity will only flourish if you seek out new perspectives and ideas; not if you hold on to the ones you already have. There’s a myth that innovator’s are successful because they’re stubborn and simply stay fixated on their goal until they get there. Yes, they’re stubborn on vision but flexible on details. And it’s in the latter part where changing your mind comes in, because innovators have strong opinions weakly held.
And what does this take? It all starts with having an open mind.
Here are a few signs of an open mind:
- Listening to opinions that make you think hard, not just views that make you feel good;
- Choosing friends based on the decency of their behavior, not the similarity of their beliefs;
- Seeing disagreement as a chance to learn, not a threat to your ego.
With that said, the rate at which you learn and progress in the world depends on how willing you are to weigh the merit of new ideas, even if you don’t instinctively like them.
Bottom line: The ability to change your mind is a superpower.