Clay Christensen (who wrote The Innovator’s Dilemma and came up with the idea of “disruptive innovation”) put together a study called The Innovator’s DNA, which attempts to take us inside the minds of successful innovators. Christensen and his fellow researchers believe it's more than a case of good genes when it comes to disruptive innovators. Christensen found five habits common among them:
- associating: Innovators connect seemingly unconnected things (He writes, "Innovative breakthroughs often happen at the intersection of diverse disciplines and fields).
- questioning: Innovators keep asking why things aren’t done differently ("What would happen if we did this?"). Questions outnumber answers in conversations and a good question is respected as much as a good answer.
- observing: Innovators are also intense observers. They pay attention to detail.
- networking: They are great at networking ideas. They are constantly "finding and testing ideas through a diverse network of individuals."
- experimenting: Innovators are constantly trying out new experiences and ideas. They "explore the world intellectually and experientially, testing hypotheses along the way."
Read more here.