Innovation Skills for Your Team

When I was completing my Masters of Science in Creativity and Change Leadership, we had to take a course in Scientific Measures. This course was designed to help us assess the reliability and validity of scientific research; we were, after all, studying applied creativity. The thinking was, if we had a better idea of what constituted good research, we’d be better prepared to work with the research driven from the field and we wouldn’t get hooked into basing our work on shaky research foundations.

I learned a lot in that course. I learned how to be more discerning—to look under the covers of a research study. Most of all, I learned it wasn’t easy to measure individual creativity. In fact, we were taught to be skeptical of anyone claiming to have the “one” measure that would unlock one’s creative potential. It turns out that creativity is multidimensional; we need to consider many factors when we look at creativity in individuals. And we get a better reading if we look at it from a variety of measures to allow us to take a composite view.

So, what’s this got to do with Innovation Skills?

A lot.

A direct link exists between individual creativity and innovation skills. In other words, it’s people who innovate. And they need to draw on creativity, creative thinking, problem solving and many other skills to make productive contributions to innovation efforts. We call these skills 21st Century learning and innovation skills. They’re the skills that separate people who are prepared for today’s increasingly complex life and work environments and those who are not. And, they are the skills we all need to survive a VUCA world – one where volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity are status quo and continuous learning is required.

What Skills Do You Need to Innovate?

 “Successful innovation in organizations requires a combination of skills, supportive cultures and climates, structures and processes, and leadership.” – Conference Board of Canada, Centre for Business Innovation

While other factors do come into play, an organization’s innovation performance is influenced by the skills in its workforce. Many organizations go about innovation haphazardly, hoping they’re doing the right things and have the right skills.

An alternative approach is to consider what skills you and your team require to fully engage in innovation and then strategically find ways to build those skills. The first step in doing so is to measure  how your individual skills and your team’s skills are contributing to your organization’s innovation performance and get direct feedback on where you need to build skill.

Imagine how clarity on the skills you have and the skills you need might help your organization improve innovation performance!

Introducing the General Innovation Skills Aptitude Test

You can’t change anything without first having awareness of the need.

I was pretty excited when I came across the Innovation Skills Profile and its corresponding General Innovation Skills Aptitude Test (GISAT), a research-based assessment that helps identify, understand and assess how an individual’s skills, attitudes and behaviours contribute to an organization’s innovation performance.

The GISAT has been designed through research conducted by the Conference Board of Canada’s Centre for Business Innovation, through funding sponsorship made available by industry, government and academe.

As the Chair of the Council of Innovation and Commercialization at the Conference Board of Canada, I’ve been able to look under the hood on this assessment and I like what I see. So much so that we’ve decided to partner with the Conference Board of Canada’s Centre for Business Innovation to bring this assessment to our clients.

The GISAT raises awareness and understanding about the skills, attitudes and behaviours individuals and organizations need to be innovative, and provides direct feedback on how individuals can address skills gaps in these areas.

More specifically, the GISAT helps individuals and organizations answer three essential questions around innovation:

  1. What skills, attitudes and behaviours do individuals currently have that contribute to innovation performance?
  2. What is the importance of innovation skills to an individual’s job or function?
  3. If there is a gap between the innovation skills, attitudes and behaviours an individual has and the needs of his/her job or function, what do we do about it?

The assessment can be used by current and future employees in an organization: leaders, entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs alike.

Take the Innovation Skills Aptitude Test

Taking the GISAT is simple.

You can take it on this website from our Innovation Resources page via a free, downloadable PDF.  Alternatively, for a nominal fee you can take it online and let a secure database do the work for you. The benefit of doing it online is that there’s no fuss, no muss, and if you’ve got a team, you can get individual and consolidated results, as well as a walk-through of what the results mean to your team and your organization.

Taking the online assessment is a great way to open a dialogue in your organization about innovation. You may identify an innovation skills gap in yourself or your team. If so, we welcome the opportunity to help you bring clarity, ideas and action to resolving that gap. A few of the ways we can do this are through our ThinkUP Innovation Framework, our courses and keynotes, and diagnostic tools such as the Organizational Growth Indicator (OGI) and Competitive Value innovation Guide.

If you would like to  know more about taking the GISAT online, or if you’ve taken the assessment and want to discuss how we can help you fill the innovation skills gap, send us an email or give us a call at +1 437-777-9710.


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