Ingenious Thinking Style: A Must In Today’s Organizations
How many novel uses can you think of for a simple ping-pong ball? Researchers from the University of Minnesota Carlson School Of Management asked study participants to tackle this challenge. Half were in a neat room, and the other half were in a messy room. The people in the untidy room generated ideas that were significantly more creative than the people in the neat room. Next time you see a chaotic office or a desk piled high, it may be an indication of a highly innovative person! Those with an ingenious thinking style may eschew organization – but they do embrace novelty.
Ingenious Thinkers – Evergreen Creativity
According to the Thinking Intentions Profiles framework, ingenious or hard green thinkers, are oriented towards resourcefulness. This thinking style is based on looking for variety, seeking new angles, and using wit and humour.
Someone who is a strong green thinker may say, “Let’s explore! Let’s look at new ideas and get outside the box with our thinking.”
Steve Jobs, who appears to have been an ingenious type of thinker, once said:
“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect the experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.”
Often, creative people see “something” because they allow themselves to look. They remove those boundaries, letting their thinking escape and wander around. Free from the box, they look for new connections and explore new options. A challenge they love: “This existing protocol isn’t working. Can we come up with a new way of doing business?”
They are intrigued and excited by the idea of creating new approaches – or new products – that will enhance results. Like Jobs, ingenious thinkers are the change agents of the world. As leaders, these individuals are highly resourceful; they love the fast flow of ideas and new information. In some cases, they can use humour effectively to engage teams or clients.
While a critically important mind set in today’s fast-paced organizations, hard green thinkers can pose challenges to the team:
- They can be called “dragonflies” because their ideas are darting all around the place, and it is difficult to harness them.
- They are so focused on creating new ideas that it can be difficult for them to narrow down their thinking and take action. This can be frustrating for hard blue thinkers, who tend to make very quick decisions.
- They often, as mentioned, have messy work areas. This can aggravate the neat and tidy hard red (analytical) thinkers! However, if teams understand each other’s thinking profiles, perhaps this won’t be a problem at all. Rather, it will be a signal that this is a person to ask if they need to access creative thinking.
Two and three decades ago, ingenious thinking was not valued because of the nature of the work many people did in manufacturing environments. In today’s high-test, changing world, hard green thinking is critical. And, often, it is where teams are lacking. The Thinking Intentions Profile can be a useful tool to help identify individuals who can think creatively, enabling organizations to round out and enrich their teams.
Hard green thinkers embody the philosophy that we can’t solve problems or challenges using the same thinking that created them. The ability to make connections, synthesize new input, and remove the barriers to innovative thinking are critical in today’s organizations – and a messy desk is a very small price to pay.