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What’s Your IQ?

Posted by Marcie Van Houten on July 29, 2010


What is your Innovation Quotient (IQ) or what could also be called your Creativity Quotient (CQ)?

The Glass Hammer hosted Women in IT: Staying Technical and Getting to the Top and held a recent panel discussion at Goldman Sachs‘ West Street headquarters.  The panel featured Dr. Caroline Simard, Vice President of Research and Executive Programs at the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology.  On Innovation, “Dr. Simard said that her research showed that a disproportionate amount of women did not consider themselves innovators, compared to men. She said that a lot of this comes down to societal conditioning, and that, “We all have a responsibility to engage younger women in the innovation process.” 

Another panelist, Inna Pomeranz, Technology Fellow and chair of the WIT Technical Pillar at Goldman Sachs,  commented, “It may be a misconception of innovation as invention. In the business world it’s not necessarily about inventing as it is about solving problems in a new and creative ways that bring value to our business.” How can one become a better innovator, she asked? “Open up to new ideas and new solutions. Create atmosphere where ideas can flow. Innovation means risk – without risk there is no reward. Take more risks. I love change. Get involved with strategic initiatives for the firm that bring value to your business and provide an opportunity to influence the organization and reinforce your position as a change leader There is always risk. We all can make mistakes. I think we need to think about how to take calculated risk and how we can mitigate that risk.”

You can read more about the panel discussion on innovation and other related topics at The Glass ceiling’s blog post of the event, written by Melissa J. Anderson (New York City).

When I was in business school (ahem, just a few years back), one of the top lessons I learned from my mentor was about creativity in the workplace.  She asked me if I considered myself creative.  I said, “no, not really”, as I always associated creativity with artistic abilty or the ability to design something like an advertising ad (she happened to be an exec at an advertising agency).  She instantly corrected me and said that creativity was not only about artistic ability, it also meant being creative with your  problem solving and thinking out side the box around issues. I shifted my mindset from that point forward and decided I was creative.  And I’m expanding that to include innovative as well.

Don’t make the same mistake I did early on in my career.  Rather, be sure to get those creative juices flowing early and often.  And don’t forget to leave some breadcrumbs of your innovations along the way.

5 Responses to “What’s Your IQ?”

  1. Most excellent observations and advice, Marcie! Too many times, people get tripped up by the “Myths of Innovation” – see my post http://talentedapps.wordpress.com/2009/04/14/inigo-montoya-on-innovation/

    You hit the nail right on the head with that definition from your mentor (in fact, it sounds almost exactly like Peter Drucker’s definition.) And indeed, you are very creative in solving problems!

    And I’m glad you brought up Risk. This is the 800 lb gorilla that torpedoes most efforts at innovation. It is a key part of nnovation and I think that sometimes our discomfort with risk makes us not take that next step in the innovation process. And even if we do take that step ourselves, businesses often squash innovation because of excess risk aversion.

    Mark

  2. Which women did they ask? I consider myself creative.

    Although there’s probably some other research out there that shows if you think you’re creative, you’re not. ;-)

  3. Meg Bear said

    Excellent insight Marcie and wonderful to see your creative juices flowing in the blogging department too!
    Keep those breadcrumbs coming, we all benefit when you do.

    -Meg

  4. [...] is a shining example of passion, innovation, and creativity – all characteristics that our TalentedApps bloggers frequently praise, encourage, and admire [...]

  5. [...] What’s Your IQ? – Discussion on some of the misconceptions of innovation, such as the fact that INN-ovation is not about enthusiastic responses about hotels… [...]

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