As a business innovator, you don’t quite fit in predefined boxes of expertise.

You’re swaying somewhere between the business, the creative, and the technical domains. You may work in different industries, mingling with different groups, taking on different roles and speaking in a different ‘language’.

Although it’s probably this natural disposition that led you to the field of innovation in the first place, this dual role continues to pose a mental challenge as we grow into our talents, join teams and drive projects.

Being a business innovator demands you to strike a fine balance between the critical method of a business executive or VC, and the creative mind of an artist.

It asks you:
.. to be sensitive and perceptive to inspirations all around you, yet be strictly analytical about selecting which ideas to move forward with.
.. to form vibrant visions on the future of your business, yet bring this down to actionable tasks that can be done today.
.. to solve problems with creative, out-of-the-box thinking, yet be highly pragmatic in implementing solutions.
.. to be immersed in flow-states and deep thought, yet be diligent and rigorous in getting them out there.
.. to align behind your ideas strongly, yet keep an open mind to feedback from your users and stakeholders.

The practice of innovation is as much an art as a science.

Equalizing this balance will remain a challenge. We must be able to switch from the creative thinking hat to the polarizing critical in a matter of minutes. Sometimes we may have to make choices, holding both in mind simultaneously. And we keep developing our abilities in both hemispheres instead of excelling in one. It is this mind fluidity that allows us to do our jobs well.

Ultimately, it is even more of a treasure. Instead of limiting ourselves to applying one method in our career, and keeping the others “for our own time”: we are able to integrate all these different facets of our mind, of our personalities, of our being, into our work. Training our brain for such mastery keeps us from settling in a static way of thinking and ensures we’ll never get bored.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

It is the integration of the two that I love. Allowing my business-minded analytics to not only co-exist alongside my lateral creativity bursts but to combine their forces to create value in a way that neither of them could alone.

Do you experience this split in your work as an innovator? Or in what other places do you encounter this challenge of mind fluidity? I’d love to hear if your thoughts on this challenge, and how you make it work in your favor.

With love,

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