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    How to Compose Well-Balanced Innovation Teams

    Have you ever been part of an innovation project team? How well and effectively did you and your colleagues resolve the innovation challenge? And how enjoyable was your creative teamwork? 

    Working in an effective innovation team can be a highlight of your professional career. But the individual members of a team only click well into gear if the group is well-composed and comprises of different yet complementing personalities. Today, let’s discuss how you can compose well-balanced innovation teams as an important prerequisite that your project delivers novel, meaningful and original ideas and tangible innovation results.

    Background: Leading an innovation project

    Suppose your company wants to tackle a major innovation challenge, and you’ve been selected to resolve this by organizing and running an innovation project. As the project owner, you’re now responsible for specifying the key project parameters. You need to:

    • Frame the initial innovation challenge (e.g., “How to create new ice cream products for 6-10-year-old kids”) and specify the related innovation type (e.g., product innovation). 
    • Highlight why this project is essential for your organization, and make sure that the budget allocated to the project reflects its relative importance. 
    • Settle on an innovation process method (such as Design Thinking or our X-IDEA innovation method) that fits the challenge and innovation type. 
    • Select a professional innovation company or facilitator (in line with your budget) to competently guide you to the desired results within the available budget.

    Finally, you need to ask people-related questions: How many people can you involve overall (or in a particular process stage)? How many days can you reasonably expect them to dedicate to your project? And last but not least: Who are we going to invite to help us work on the project? And how are we going to split those workshop delegates up into effective innovation teams?

    Diversity: a key success factor in composing effective innovation teams

    What success factors make a team effective? You may think of factors such as trust, joint goals, and open communication here, and you’re right. But when it comes to composing effective innovation teams, another factor rules: diversity. 

    In innovation, diversity means that we want to field project teams that represent a rich mix of backgrounds related to professional knowledge and skills and a broad take on life and the human experience. Why do we favor using diverse project teams when working on an innovation challenge — and here, especially during Ideation? Diverse teams think broader about their project case and contribute more viewpoints and perspectives. Hence, they tend to produce better insights and a bigger, richer idea pool compared to monogamous teams.

    While building heterogeneous innovation project teams, we have to consider up to five aspects of diversity: business function, culture and nationality, gender, generation, and, most importantly, cognitive styles. Let’s discuss each of these aspects below. 

    1. Functional diversity: Ensure core functions and key business units are present

    When working on a vital innovation project, make sure that each innovation team represents a broad, diverse range of related business functions. Typically, this includes the core functions of the corporate value chain; depending on the project, you may also want to add selected members from supporting functions, too. 

    For example, a few years ago, we worked with a leading F&B company on a significant, 9-month long innovation project initiative that involved 11 category brands. The company nominated more than a hundred delegates from a wide range of business functions such as Marketing, Sales, Manufacturing, Procurement, Communications & Marketing Services, and Category & Channel Sales Development.

    Do you want to add even more functional diversity to your innovation project teams? Then also invite key customers or suppliers to broaden your thinking even further. 

    In the said project, the teams visited consumers and channel partners during the initial Xploration phase of our X-IDEA innovation process method. The project owners also invited the creative leads from their activation agencies to join a 3-day long IDEA workshop that concluded the major innovation project initiative. 

    2. Gender diversity: Balance the sexes in an innovation team

    For as much as possible, balance the number of male and female delegates in a project team. A good gender mix ensures that each project team can equally well contribute gender-specific perspectives to the case. Moreover, teams tend to be more motivated and energetic if they comprise of members of both sexes. Last but not least, fielding gender-mixed teams also helps to avoid gender stereotyping. 

    Having said this, for certain projects, we may even want to break up the mixed teams into gender-specific teams temporarily. For example, more than a decade ago, Thinkergy guided Beiersdorf’s Nivea brand through a project that aimed to create new lip care concepts for Asian consumers. For one Ideation exercise, we split the delegates into “all-male’ and “all-female” gender teams. Then they played “Battle of the Sexes” — a creativity technique that uses gender stereotypes to provoke more extraordinary ideas catering to gender-specific wants and needs.

    3. Intercultural diversity: Balance and mix nationalities and cultures

    Innovation projects with Multinational Corporations typically involve multicultural delegates. Here it is essential to aim for an equal number of local and international members in each team. If possible, avoid having international delegates from one country working in the same team, as otherwise, they may end up hanging out together all the time. Moreover, instead of focusing on nationalities, better group the delegates based on geographical regions before distributing them into well-mixed but balanced intercultural innovation teams.

    For example, in 2017-18, Thinkergy ran a 2-year X-IDEA Innovation Project with Covestro. The first project workshop took place in Leverkusen, and unsurprisingly, Germans made for the majority of participants. However, we also had delegates from other European countries (France, Italy, and the UK) plus a few oversea visitors (from China, Taiwan, Japan). The project owner and I made sure that we split those non-German participants well across each of the three Xploration teams. One year later, we hosted a second IDEA-workshop in Shanghai. This time the bulk of participants came from China, and we equally spread out the remaining delegates from other Asian countries and Europe across each of the two innovation teams.

    4. Generational diversity: Mix different generations

    An innovation project should also represent a fair cross-section of the various generations that we can find in the workplace at present. As an innovation project owner, you may lean towards predominantly inviting Gen Xers and Millennials to help you with your project. However, better also include a few motivated Baby Boomers to allow the teams to benefit from the deep work and life experience they can contribute to an innovation workshop. Depending on the project, also consider adding a few Post-Millennials to each team; these Gen Z-colleagues may have just joined your company as management trainees or may currently do an internship in it.

    The Swiss innovation company Brainstore takes generational diversity even one step further. They like to invite high school kids to join the Ideation stage of their innovation process called “The Idea Machine.” At Thinkergy, we once also invited undergraduate students to join an innovation project workshop in Thailand with mixed results. However, using external teens or young adults for Ideation is a worthwhile option to consider, particularly for innovation challenges focusing on consumer technology or lifestyle products and services.

    5. Cognitive diversity: Let people play on their preferred cognitive styles at the right time

    When it comes to composing well-balanced innovation teams, the icing on the cake is to consider the personalities or, even better, the preferred cognitive styles of all the delegates. If you know everyone well enough, you may be able to gauge the personalities of each participant. However, a more professional approach is to profile all innovation project participants with a sophisticated cognitive profiling method such as our TIPS innovator profiling test.

    For example, in the Master in Business Innovation (MBI) program at Bangkok University, we profile all graduate students of a new intake with TIPS. The test results give us detailed information on the preferred styles to think, work, interact, live, and innovate of each student. More importantly, we learn with which of 11 innovator profiles each student comes out of TIPS, and on what relative development level this profile is located. Later on, I use this information to develop 3-4 combinations of different innovation teams. Thereby, each team comprises cognitively diverse profile compositions that constitute the right mix of styles and TIPS base orientations (theories, ideas, people, systems). And of course, I also consider intercultural and gender aspects while composing these teams, too. Later on, we use these team lists to field different project teams to work on real-life innovation project cases that relate to each course in the program. 

    The Program Director of the MBI program of Bangkok University, Dr. Xavier Parisot summed up his experiences with using TIPS to compose effective innovation project teams as follows:

    As a Program Director, I must ensure that our MBI corporate participants will acquire actual knowledge, empower their soft skills, and improve their leadership capabilities. To achieve such a goal, the complementation of skills and competences in each work team is a key challenge. The application of the TIPS method helped us achieve that goal in a powerful way, but it also increases the satisfaction level and the perceived quality of the results.

    Using a cognitive test requires an additional investment for the test fees. On the other hand, it may save companies costs by allowing an innovation project owner to inviting people only to those stages that suit their cognitive preferences and talents (more on this in an earlier article titled “Who shines when in the creative process?”).

    Conclusion: Succeed in innovation with the right mix of talents

    Many years ago, I jobbed part-time as a D.J. for a few years. To draw people onto the dance floor, one song I played regularly was “Last night a D.J. saved my life” by Indeed. It contains the line: “There’s not a problem that I can’t fix, ‘Cause I can do it in the mix.” The same message holds true for an innovation project: There’s not an innovation challenge you can’t fix if you know how to compose the right mix of talents for your innovation teams.

    • Would you like to learn more how we run innovation projects using our award-winning X-IDEA innovation method?
    • Are you curious to learn more about TIPS and to find out what’s your TIPS profile? Buy your TIPS online profiling test coupon for USD 89 now.
    • Contact us to tell us more about yourself and how we may help you. 

    © Dr. Detlef Reis 2019


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    Using TIPS for the People-Side of Innovation

    Suppose you’re a corporate innovation manager who arranged to get all of your fellow executives and coworkers from the major business units of your company profiled in TIPS, Thinkergy’s cognitive profiling test for business and innovation. Today, let me suggest eight actions that you can take as an innovation manager after your company has been TIPS-ed.

    1. Start with yourself and review your own TIPS result and profiling report

    As an innovation manager, first, deepen your self-awareness before beginning to gain greater innovation awareness. Study your personal TIPS profile and test results and take the actions suggested in a related earlier article (titled So you’ve been TIPS-ed, now what? (Part 1 | Part 2).

    2. Familiarize yourself with matching innovation contributions of the different profiles

    An earlier article in this blog titled How to make everyone contribute to innovation discusses how each TIPS profile can add value to corporate innovation initiatives. Read this article to gain a general overview before deep-diving into the TIPS results of your company.

    3. Overview the results of your innovators in a matrix

    If you’ve profiled a larger number of employees in TIPS, Thinkergy or your TIPS coach can send you a TIPS Profiling Results Spreadsheet featuring the test results and related personal data of all your profiled colleagues:

    • The spreadsheet contains each person’s TIPS innovator profile, test scores, and cognitive styles, among others.
    • Consider adding other relevant information to each profiled colleague to make it easier to subsequently compose diverse innovation teams (such as perhaps business unit or business function, age or social generation, gender, or educational background).
    • Use the sort functions to quickly regroup the results based on certain desired parameters.

    4. Identify your internal innovation champions

    Certain TIPS profiles tend to thrive in —and often love to drive— (digital) innovation projects. (Please see also a related article titled How to find the people to drive digital innovation). How can you find those creative and digital types? Go through the results list and check for Ideators, Conceptualizers, Promoters, and Imaginative Experimenters with high scores for the Ideas base. 

    In line with Everett Roger’s innovation diffusion theory, these profiles also tend to constitute those innovators and early adopters who create, test, endorse, and promote innovations. I detail this out in a related article titled Who really makes innovation happen?

    5. Use TIPS to optimize the people-side of innovation projects

    As an innovation manager, you will regularly organize innovation projects that target specific challenges. Moreover, business unit managers may approach you occasionally to ask for your support for a particular innovation project. Whatever the case may be, TIPS can help you in better planning successful innovation projects in three ways:

    1. Each innovation project typically targets one particular innovation type (such as product or service innovation, or customer experience design). Interestingly, different TIPS profiles tend to enjoy and do well in certain innovation types. Please check out the article titled What innovation projects fit your cognitive style for more information.
    2. TIPS also allows you to optimize the people utilization in an innovation project. You can do this by inviting people only to those process stages that they tend to enjoy based on their TIPS profile. I discuss the details in an earlier article titled Who shines when in the creative process?
    3. TIPS also spells out what is the preferred style to innovate of each profile. As an innovation facilitator, check what TIPS profiles you have in an innovation team before you guide it through the stages of a structured thinking process.(such as our award-winning innovation method X-IDEA). When applying specific thinking tools, adjust your facilitation style to fit the preferred styles of innovating of the team members. I explain these differences in an earlier article titled What’s your and everyone else’s style to innovate?

    6. Identify opportunities for work realignments in the innovation management function

    Depending on your TIPS profile and your specific job responsibilities, you may or may not be highly satisfied with your role as an innovation manager. It is quite likely that you love certain aspects of your position, but regard taking care of other tasks as a drudgery. This ambivalence is because most innovation managers either enjoy administering organizational innovation from behind or leading innovation initiatives at the front, but not having to do both.

    For this reason, I made a case to separate the function into two roles in an earlier article titled Creative leaders and innovation managers: same same but different. Read this article and decide if my arguments make sense to you. If yes, consider bringing in another person who complements your preferred work focus. Then, drive and lead innovation at the front, while leaving all the administrative tasks to your colleague — or vice versa, depending on your TIPS profile.

    7. Clarify who is going to respond how to creative change

    TIPS can give you hints on who is going to respond how to major creative change initiatives that your organization may introduce to make your corporate culture more innovation-friendly. Thereby, we distinguish all profiled people into three groups based on their TIPS profiles and highest score:

    • Psycho-dynamic profiles (such as the Conceptualizer, Ideator, Imaginative Experimenter, and Promoter) tend to be change drivers or change agents.
    • Psycho-neutral profiles (like the Theorist, Coach, All-Rounder, and Partner) tend to skeptics whom you need to convince that the change is sensible and worth the extra efforts.
    • Psycho-static profiles tend to be laggards and preservers who are likely to resist change passively, or who may even actively try to sabotage it.  They include the TIPS profiles of the Organizer, Systematizer, Systematic Experimenter, and Technocrat. 

    As such, TIPS can help you to identify possible change drivers and change agents in your organization. Moreover,  TIPS can also point you to those psycho-static colleagues who are likely to oppose and resist the change initiative. This knowledge allows you to actively approach these colleagues early on to address their concerns and try to win them over.

    8. Identify possible candidates for a creative leadership development program

    You can regard all the psycho-dynamic colleagues that we’ve identified in steps 4 and 7 as a potential talent pool to be developed into creative leaders by your organization. A sophisticated creative leadership development program such as Genius Journey by Thinkergy can teach these creative talents the advanced creative mindsets and action routines of outstanding creative leaders in business, science, sports, and the arts. (Depending on your TIPS profiles, you as innovation manager and other psycho-dynamic top executives may want to join such a program, too).

    Do you want to learn more about TIPS

    Are you curious about what’s your TIPS profile? Buy your TIPS online profiling test coupon for USD 89 now.

    Would you like to find out more about our TIPS training for your team? Contact us to tell us more. 

    © Dr. Detlef Reis 2019

  • How to Find the People to Drive Digital Innovation

    These days, many companies are interested in pursuing digital development initiatives and more progressive innovation projects. Why is that? The advent of the innovation economy and digital transformation will drive economies in the coming decades. Moreover, within the next couple of years, we’ll see the beginning of a new long cycle of technological and economic development: the Sixth Wave. Each long wave brings forth 2-3 new lead technologies that drive economic growth for a couple of decades. Each wave also sees the rise of a few start-up ventures that develop into market-dominating corporations. For example, companies like Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Facebook have risen to prominent positions in the present Fifth Wave driven by information technology, the Internet, and social networks. Apart from clean technologies and biotechnology & genomics, digital transformation triggered by artificial intelligence (AI), big data and automatization are predicted to drive the upcoming Sixth Wave (ca. 2020-2045). 

    To survive and thrive in times of exponential change, and to master digital transformation, established corporations need to start a new creative growth cycle. But where and how to find the creative and digital types to drive these new initiatives?

    Enter TIPS

    TIPS is Thinkergy’s innovator profiling system. We developed this comparatively new cognitive profiling method to better deal with the people side of business and innovation. The TIPS method consists of two overlapping theoretical constructs:

    • On the one hand, the four TIPS bases (Theories, Ideas, People, Systems) describe four social and technological base orientations that drive technological, social, economic, and political change. TIPS asserts that most people’s behaviors and actions go back to one or two of these fundamental base orientations.
    • On the other hand, the four TIPS styles (to think, work, interact, and live) illustrate the preferred cognitive styles of people. Thereby, each style comes in three possible expressions (e.g., Fact, Feeling, and Fact & Feeling for the interaction style).

    Put together, the four TIPS bases and the four TIPS styles form a profiling map that gives room for ten plus one distinct innovator profiles. Also, these two theoretical constructs allow us to identify those creative and digital types within and outside your organization.

    Where to find the creative and digital types?

    Nowadays, many corporations want to identify those creative and digital types within their knowledge workforce. These two target groups locate at certain TIPS bases, and exhibit specific dominant TIPS styles:

    • The “digital types” revolve around the TIPS bases Theories and Ideas and are “Brain-workers”, which characterizes their dominant TIPS style. How does this connect to TIPS Profiles? Conceptualizers and Theorists are best equipped to play a significant role in digital projects. They may be supported by Ideators, Imaginative Experimenters, and Theoretical Technocrats as supplementary team members. 
    • In contrast, we can find the “creative types” at the Ideas- and People-bases. They tend to be “Fantasy-thinkers”, which is the dominant cognitive style that matters here. Ideators and Promoters are best suited to drive progressive innovation projects. They may be supported by empathetic Partners, Imaginative Conceptualizers, and Imaginative Experimenters.

    As the illustration below shows, the two groups overlap at the Ideas-base, indicating that those profiles touching this base can take part in both digital and creative project initiatives.

    How to find the creative and digital types?

    With the emergence of TIPS as a new cognitive profiling method for the digital innovation economy, it’s easy to identify the digital and creative types in your organization. Just get all your in-house talents and potential recruits TIPS-ed. In other words, have everyone take our TIPS online test. If you want to get a larger number of your knowledge workers TIPS-ed, you may qualify for a special volume pricing (which we offer for organizations that buy test coupons in bulk).

    After you’ve tested your talents with TIPS, map out the results on a TIPS Profiling Map that shows everyone’s profile type and top scores. An earlier blog article discussed how you could do this. If you like (and have a budget), we can also create the profiling maps and a results matrix for you. 

    Once you’ve identified the digital and creative types, what next?

    TIPS allows you to find those types who, based on their cognitive predispositions and preferences, are qualified to drive or take part in digital projects or progressive innovation projects. However, knowing that someone has the talent to work in digital or creative development projects doesn’t automatically mean that they are ready with the word “go”. It is more likely that many of these “digital” and “creative” talents may lack specific knowledge and skills to do so well right away. Why? If they finished their formal education a few years ago, it is unlikely that courses related to digitalization, creativity, and innovation were part of their curricula. 

    As such, you need to start talent development initiatives to equip those digital and creatives types with the necessary know-how to play out their natural strengths. (You may also want to take a look at this article on talent development titled Who should be trained in what?): 

    • Nowadays, it’s easy to find training programs in structured innovation methods (such as Design Thinking or our X-IDEA method). In the past years, some business schools have added creativity courses into their graduate programs or even began offering progressive new graduate programs. (One example here is the Master in Business Innovation program provided by the Institute for Knowledge and Innovation, South-East Asia (IKI-SEA) at Bangkok University). Thinkergy even delivers training courses in “advanced creativity” (based on our Genius Journey method that allows firms to develop their top talents into creative leaders).
    • However, the situation is slightly different when it comes to training courses in digital contents. Here, a suitable way to quickly upskill your top digital talents is to enroll them in online training courses (such as Artificial Intelligence, Deep Learning, Machine Learning, Data Analytics, and programming languages such as Java or Python).

    As such, get ready to invest in training programs to upskill your in-house digital and creative talents. Equip them with the knowledge and skills they still lack to contribute their natural strengths to digital initiatives and innovation projects. (And of course, consider also bringing in selected outside talent and fresh graduates who studied computer science or innovation).

    How to prevent your digital and creative talents from leaving your organization?

    In the coming years, the creative and, in particular, digital types will be in high demand and short supply. So, expect headhunters and competitors to approach your digital talents and top creative types regularly. What can you do to keep all those creative and digital talents in your ranks happy?

    1. Pay them well in line with —or better— above the market rates for comparable positions in digital transformation and innovation.
    2. Manage them in harmony with their preferred cognitive styles. What does this mean? Do not micromanage them. Do create a free-flowing work environment with flexible work hours. Finally, do expose them to challenging digital or creative work assignments.
    3. Create a “dual career track system” that allows digital and creative “Brainiacs” to advance in their careers (both hierarchically and financially) without having to become managers. Why? The best middle managers are “Brawniacs” who enjoy “sweating the small stuff” and taking care of all the details. In contrast, the abstract, conceptual digital types dislike “managing” and are not good at doing. (Learn more about the Brainiac-Brawniac work dilemma in an earlier blog article).

    Conclusion: It’s all about knowing how to find, develop, and keep creative and digital talents

    TIPS allows you to identify who in your workforce has a natural cognitive predisposition to partake in digital or progressive innovation projects. Some of these digital and creative talents may already have the necessary repertoire  of pertinent knowledge and skills to get going right away. You need to develop most others by offering them tailored development programs with a mix of offline and online training courses. 

    So, get ready to invest in competing in the innovation economy and master digital transformation successfully. First, invest in a cognitive profiling exercise of your workforce to identify the digital and creative types. Then, invest in digital and creative talent development initiatives to quickly close identified knowledge and skills gaps. Finally, invest in keeping compensation and rewards schemes that keep your talents happy.

    What’s the alternative? Fading into irrelevance and eventually becoming obsolete with your methods and technologies, products, and company.

    • Download the TIPS brochure, or check out our TIPS website, to learn more about TIPS?
    • Check out our TIPS online test and get TIPS-ed now
    • Are you interested in one of our TIPS training courses?
    • Or would you be interested to profile a larger number of employees and would be interested in our bulk-buy pricing for TIPS?

    Contact us to tell us more how we may help you find and develop those digital and creative types in your organization.


  • 9 Ways to Manage People Better with TIPS

    Have you ever heard about the “war for talent”? The term appeared first in a 1997 research study by McKinsey and was popularized in the 2001 book of the same title. In The War for Talent, Michaels et al. argue that companies have to navigate an increasingly competitive landscape for recruiting and retaining talented employees. Demographic shifts (primarily in the United States and Europe, but also in Asia) and increasing demand for highly skilled knowledge workers are responsible for the predicted talent shortage. In response to the call to win in The War for Talent, the talent management industry gained momentum and grew in popularity.

    Twenty years later, we may ask in hindsight: Have many organizations suffered from a shortage of talented people during the past two decades? Indeed, companies face difficulties to find enough talents for specific roles in certain industries (e.g., IT developers). However, the “war for talent” has proved to be a myth. In most areas and countries, talents abound. So, if we’re not short of talent, what’s the real challenge? Most organizations are unable to recognize the real “personal assets” of their human capital   — and how to best use them. Here we’ll explore how human resources manager can better manage human capital along the talent management cycle with the help of TIPS, Thinkergy’s cognitive profiling tool for business and innovation.

    Introduction: The talent management lifecycle

    Talent management aims to anticipate an organization’s requirements for human capital. Then, strategic plans plot how to meet those talent needs effectively. Talent management includes all activities to plan, recruit, onboard, manage, develop, reward, and set free talented managers and employees.

    The literature on human capital management presents these key activities along with a lifecycle model: the talent management lifecycle. While various concepts differ in detail, there is a widespread consensus on certain stages that talents pass through while working for an organization.  In the following, I outline how TIPS can support the talent management efforts of the human capital function. Thereby, I move along the various stages of the talent lifecycle and its three main objectives (recruit—retain—release talent).

    Talent management aims to anticipate an organization’s requirements for human capital. Then, strategic plans plot how to meet those talent needs effectively. Talent management includes all activities to plan, recruit, onboard, manage, develop, reward, and set free talented managers and employees.

    The literature on human capital management presents these key activities along with a lifecycle model: the talent management lifecycle. While various concepts differ in detail, there is a widespread consensus on certain stages that talents pass through while working for an organization.  In the following, I outline how TIPS can support the talent management efforts of the human capital function. Thereby, I move along the various stages of the talent lifecycle and its three main objectives (recruit—retain—release talent).

    Stage 1: Talent planning

    Talent planning is a strategic approach that involves identifying key positions and roles, understanding critical skills requirements and gaps, and creating transition and succession plans to keep critical roles filled with top players today and in the future. The practice encompasses the assessment of an organization’s current level of talent, predicting the future talent needs necessary to achieve its strategic objectives, and then creating corresponding action strategies for recruiting, retaining and releasing talents.

    TIPS can be a valuable conceptual tool to help talent planners gauge an appropriate cognitive mix in an organization’s talent pool. Depending on the industry and the evolutionary phase in the business cycle, a company or strategic business unit needs more talents with specific personality profiles and related cognitive styles. For example, banks or accounting firms have a greater need for quantitative, analytical thinkers, while agencies in the creative industries need a high proportion of qualitative creative thinkers. With regards to the business cycle phase, a fast-growing company needs to focus on bringing in more operational knowledge workers to solidify its backend, while a company threatened by digital transformation needs to look for agile, creative talents who drive change as the organization begins a new business cycle to avoid disruption and creative destruction.

    Stage 2: Talent acquisition

    Talent acquisition is all about hiring the right person for an open position. How can TIPS help organizations to acquire the right talents who cognitively fit the requirements of a particular job (and prevent them from hiring the wrong people)? In a TIPS talent acquisition project, we use a gamified approach to help a human resources team translate the job description for each open position into compatible TIPS profiles. Typically, every role has a primary TIPS profile representing an ideal cognitive fit and 1-3 secondary profiles that are possibles.

    Then, human resources invite all shortlisted candidates to take the TIPS online test to determine their TIPS profile. Next, we check for the cognitive job fit of each candidate. When the recruitment committee members conduct the final job interviews with the shortlisted top candidates, they can ask specific questions to validate the cognitive suitability of each candidate further. Finally, they decide on the best candidate considering all position-specific competencies (knowledge, skills, expertise, and cognitive profile).

    Would you like to get more details on a TIPS-empowered talent recruitment process? Check out an earlier article titled How to hire the right talents with TIPS.

    Stage 3: Talent onboarding

    When a new talent joins an organization, they often first go through an orientation program that helps to familiarize them with their new organization. After the initial “honeymoon period”, however, many talents are left alone in living up to the expectation of their new boss and colleagues.

    One onboarding approach to help new talents to integrate into their new organization successfully, and avoid disillusionment, is to assign them a mentor. Here, TIPS can help to ensure that the mentor has a similar, or ideally, the same TIPS profile as a new talent. Why is this useful?

    People with the same or similar profiles and cognitive preferences tend to like each other. They share similar viewpoints and cognitive styles. Hence, a TIPS-compatible mentor can share with her mentee how to effectively navigate the company culture (the real one, not its public relations version) while staying true to one’s natural talents and personality.

    Stage 4: Talent (re-)alignment

    One of the best ways for an organization to retain their top talents is by putting them in a role that they love and can do well. One sentence captures the essence of talent (re-)alignment: Put the right person into the right job. 

    Organizations that ensure hiring the right new talents for a vacant position tend to comply with this maxim (in stage 2: talent acquisition). Yet, many organizations have put a significant number of those “right people” who are already on board in a “wrong job”. Either they work in a (slightly) wrong role within the right work team, or in a wrong business function. How can TIPS help here? 

    TIPS suggests what “ecosystems”  (business functions, industries, and organizational types) fit the natural talents of each profile type. So, invite all your incumbent talents to take the TIPS online personality test. Then, check how closely the role that each person works in fits their TIPS profile and preferred cognitive styles. Next, discuss the results with each talent and their manager. If desired, realign the roles and responsibilities of all those “right people” who are  “in the wrong job” to set free their full talents. Do you want more details on how this works?  Take a look at an earlier blog post article titled How to put the right people into the right job.

    Stage 5: Talent management

    Different talents vary in the way they prefer to be managed by their superior (team manager or senior executive). These differences go back to different personal preferences in cognitive styles that relate to the four TIPS styles (to think, work, interact and live). If you’re a manager, some members of your team may prefer:

    • taking on more quantitative, analytical duties, while others prefer more qualitative, creative work assignments (thinking style). 
    • working on longer, conceptual projects, while others enjoy ticking off operational tasks on a To Do-list (work style). 
    • you to make your case, and decisions, based on evidence and hard facts, while others want you to communicate and make decisions in a more considerate, consensual ways (interaction style).
    • a work climate and management style that is more formal, disciplined and on schedule, while others are more casual, free-flowing and flexible on time (lifestyle).

    The article Manage people better by relating to their personal styles discusses these differences in how people like to be managed in greater detail.

    Stage 6: Talent development

    Talent development aims to provide appropriate Learning & Development (L&D) programs that empower your talents to grow, perform better, and prepare them for their next career step. Thereby, it’s essential to move away from one-size-fits-all L&D programs to more individualized upskilling approaches. Such a personalized approach aligns with a fundamental principle of TIPS: “Make everyone play on the natural strengths of their TIPS profiles. Use the other profiles to compensate for one’s weaknesses.” 

    Do you see the value in this credo? Then focus the upskill training initiatives for your talents on developing their strengths further, and not on eradicating their weaknesses. Read the article Who should be trained in what?, which explains the underlying rationale in greater detail, and also suggests sample training courses that most talents of a particular TIPS profile type find appealing. 

    Stage 7: Talent performance

    Different types of talents tend to excel at producing certain kind of outputs. For example, a person who is good at closing deals typically is poor at writing code. 

    TIPS can help you understand who has a talent for producing what kinds of outputs. The target outputs that come naturally easy to a person reside in their talent sweet spot. So, if you’ve already put the right person into the right job (talent acquisition and/or realignment)), then that talent can produce the target outputs related to this position easily, effortlessly and enjoyably. 

    An earlier blog article titled How to boost work productivity and performance with TIPS outlines examples of primary and secondary target outputs for each of the 11 TIPS profiles, as well as the process steps of effective performance management for your talents.

    Stage 8: Talent leadership

    Who is the best talent to lead a business unit — or even the entire organization as CEO? It depends on where in the business cycle a particular business unit, or the whole corporation, locates right now, and whether it’s ready to move to the next development stage. 

    As a company grows, it’s leadership focus shifts: from creating and launching products, to marketing and sales growth, to solidifying operations, and finally systematizing the entire business. As explained in an earlier article, specific TIPS profiles come to the fore at different development stages as a company gradually evolves from a start-up venture to a large or even multinational corporation. 

    For example, nowadays, many corporations are threatened by digital transformation and new technologies (especially in some industries such as banking or automotive). They need to start a new creative cycle to avoid the fate of creative destruction. The corresponding TIPS profile to best drive such agile, innovative and disruptive change —either as leader of a new business unit or even as the organization’s CEO— is an Ideator (and not a Systematizer who tends to occupy executive chairs in established organizations). 

    Stage 9: Talent transition

    At some point, talents depart from an organization. In the past, most people stayed with one organization from recruitment until retirement. Nowadays, the end of one talent lifecycle is the beginning of a new one. 

    In some cases, talents transition into a new organization by their own volition to hike up their compensation or career prospects. In other cases, however, organizational restructuring and automation of business processes force organizations to make some of their talents redundant.

    Here, TIPS can become an invaluable tool to ensure that departing talents can smoothly transition into a new role or career. Companies may offer their “outplaced” talents to take a TIPS online test. TIPS allows them to learn more about their personality profile and preferred cognitive styles. (For some, it may be the first time in their career that they’ve got the opportunity to take a cognitive profiling test). By gaining greater self-awareness of their TIPS profile, departing talents can align their next career move to a proper role, industry, organizational type, and business cycle stage, regardless of whether they sign on at a new company or consider starting their own business.

    Conclusion: TIPS empowers talent management along the entire lifecycle

    TIPS can provide organizations with greater talent awareness. Our cognitve profiling tool can support human resources managers to more effectively manage human capital along all stages of the talent management lifecycle. Knowledge of a person’s TIPS profile allows you to:

    a) first, recruit the right talents;

    b) then, retain them longer by aligning their job placements, L&D initiatives and performance contributions to their TIPS profile, and by managing them in harmony with their preferred cognitive styles; and

    c) finally, release them in style into a successful next career.  

    • Are you a leader who would like to learn more about how TIPS can help you manage your human capital? 
    • Are you curious about what’s your TIPS profile? Buy your TIPS online profiling test coupon for $89 now.
    • Would you like to find out more about our TIPS training? Contact us to tell us more. 

    © Dr. Detlef Reis 2019

  • How to Find Your Perfect Innovation Training

    When Thinkergy started fourteen years ago, we had one training course named “Business Creativity and Innovation”. Over the years, as we’ve evolved into a full-fledged innovation company, our innovation know-how and scope of offerings have expanded. In the process, we have developed a greater variety of innovation training courses that go more in-depth concerning a specific aspect of innovation. 

    Unfortunately, greater variety also means greater choice, which makes it more difficult for prospective clients to select the most suitable innovation training for their people if they browse our website. So today, allow me to share with you what factors we consider while developing a new survey-tool for our website that we hope helps prospective clients find —and settle on— a training course that fits their innovation training needs and constraints. 

    Parameters to consider when planning an innovation training

    Say you’re a Learning & Development Manager in Human Resources or lead a business unit. You strongly believe in the value of continued education, and in the era of the innovation economy, you want to provide more creativity- and innovation-related training programs to your employees. But how to get started in finding suitable training courses.

    Of course, you need to identify suitable vendors from whom to source the training. How? Check the track record of possible innovation training providers. Separate the wheat from the chaff by rating potential training providers on both the methodological underpinning of their courses and their real-life innovation experience. Ask: What innovation methods do they use in training? How many years have they been running creativity and innovation training courses? Do they only talk the talk or also walk their innovation talk themselves?

    More importantly, however, you need to answer a few questions that help you clarify your wants and needs concerning a couple of critical training parameters: number and background of the delegates; innovation focus area; training duration; and budget. Below, let’s discuss each of these parameters (and the related questions to answer) in greater detail:

    (1) Overall number of training delegates: 

    How many people overall do you want to provide with a particular innovation training? Into how many training cohorts would you like to split this total number of delegates? 

    Here, note that if you put too many learners into one cohort, then the quality of learning tends to suffer. Why? Big training cohorts are more challenging to control, especially if you do a lot of practical exercises. To ensure proper learning and avoid the free-rider phenomenon that is common in large cohorts, be prepared to commit more time for the training,  to pay extra for more trainers or co-facilitators, or to reduce the number of practical exercises and case applications. 

    The optimal class size for most innovation training courses is 24 delegates, but for specific training programs, we recommend smaller cohorts of 16 and larger groups of 30 delegates. 

    (2) Background of training delegates: 

    To what organizational function or business unit, as well as what hierarchical level, do the delegates mostly belong? 

    For example, do you want to train more operational people working on a factory floor in creativity and innovation? Do you want to organize a training only for senior executives, or for up-and-coming young management talents? Do you intend to mix different hierarchy levels (e.g., staff and middle managers)? Your answers to these questions tend to inform how much time and budget you can commit for the respective training. 

    (3) Topic focus area of the innovation training: 

    On what major innovation challenge or challenges do you want the training to focus?

    Within the domains of creativity and innovation, most companies face challenges in four areas: 


      • Creative process: How to use an effective innovation process and related thinking tools in an innovation project as a member of an innovation team.
      • Creative people: How to find the agile, creative types that drive (digital) innovation initiatives? How to make everyone contribute to corporate innovation in harmony with their cognitive styles?
      • Creative culture: How to develop a more innovation-friendly culture in our corporation? What factors impair or enable organizational creativity?
      • Creative leaders: How to identify and develop more authentic creative leaders to drive innovation teams and lead business units in times of the innovation economy?

    At Thinkergy, we have developed specific innovation methods to address these challenges:  X-IDEA as a systematic yet fun-to-use creative process; TIPS to find creative people; CooL-Creativity UnLimited to build a creative culture; and Genius Journey for developing creative leaders. We offer a range of training courses for each of these key innovation topic areas based on our proprietary innovation methods.

    In addition, we’ve also developed a “land of the lair”-innovation training for busy executives who want to learn about the vital innovation frames to master to produce innovation results. Moreover, we play a creative entrepreneurial game (“in the Year 2100”) with delegates to make them experience how to succeed in a highly dynamic market environment. We also offer a range of innovation keynote talks. Finally, we have designed a range of Business Thinking Skills training courses to equip staff and lower management with critical functional skills (Creative Thinking, Analytical Thinking, Visual Thinking, Entrepreneurial Thinking, and Decision Making). 

    (4) Training duration: 

    How much time are you (and the delegates you target) able and willing to dedicate to an innovation training? 

    Based on our experience, typical time commitments range from short time intervals (1-2 hours, half a day) over medium-term (1-day or 2-days) to more long-term commitments (3 days or more). Know that the more time you make available, the more chances to give your innovation trainer to apply the contents in practical exercises or —even better— on simulated realistic innovation cases.

    Interestingly, within Asia, there are noticeable differences with regards to how much time training can last. While in Hong Kong, you can count yourself lucky if a company is willing to commit a full day for the training (as “everyone is so busy making money”), companies in Thailand or Indonesia typically book 2-day or even 3-day training courses.

    (5) Training budget: 

    What budget do you have available for training your delegates in creativity and innovation? 

    Your budget needs to relate to the overall number of delegates you want to train in innovation in a given period. Moreover, the higher your budget, the more training days overall can you buy, thus allowing you to book longer training courses with more practical exercises and real-life case scenarios. Finally, please bear in mind that high-quality innovation training courses typically charge a premium, which compensates the training providers for the higher cost related to licensing or developing premium contents.

     

    Apart from the aforementioned, other factors you may want to consider are the context of the training (e.g., standalone training; training course as part of a more comprehensive training program with other classes; training as part of a corporate offsite or a conference), the desired format of the training (e.g., keynote, lecture, workshop, learning game, case application, excursion) as well as the composition of the training cohort which takes account of the cultural and country background of the delegates.


    Introducing a new web-tool to help you find your ideal innovation training

    Back to the beginning: While we started with one training course in “Business Creativity” in 2005, Thinkergy currently offers 25 innovation training courses that differ in their topic focus and duration. When a prospective client is interested in learning more about our training courses, we typically meet with them to ask them a series of questions to help us recommend one or a few training courses that cater to the identified training needs.

    We noticed that in the last couple of years, it takes longer to find a time slot for a prospective client meeting as businesspeople and managers face evermore demands on their time and are busier and busier. Hence, we’ve been looking for a way to help a prospective client find a training program aligned to their innovation needs while they browse our website in a quiet minute. How? 

    1. On the training solutions page of our Thinkergy website, we have added a short survey tool that asks you similar questions that we would ask you in a face-to-face meeting. 
    2. Once you’ve answered all of the questions, we recommend you one training course that ideally fits the parameters that you specify. Save or print the description of the suggested training, 
    3. If you like, play the survey again by changing one or more answer options to see what alternative training course we’d recommend you now. 
    4. Finally, contact us to find out more about your preferred training course. Typically, we then call you or meet with you so that you can tell us more about your interests as well as other specific parameters. Then, we’ll compose a tailor-made training proposal for you that uniquely meets your training needs and constraints. 

    Conclusion: Master the paradox of choice with personal and technological support

    Many companies feel compelled to offer a variety of products to their clients to cater to specific wants, needs, and desires; on the other hand, more choice makes it more difficult for customers to settle for one offering, and may even make them walk away and look somewhere else for another offer. The American psychologist Barry Schwartz discusses this dilemma in his book The Paradox of Choice — Why More is Less.

    How to best resolve this dilemma? Schwartz argues that eliminating consumer choices can significantly reduce anxiety for buyers, so offering fewer products and variations is one possible resolution. For example, when Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, he decided to cut down the number of computers that Apple offers from roughly three dozen to just four. 

    An alternative way is to use either personal advice and technology as an aid to guide customers to the best choice for a specific need. And in the coming years, it’s likely that new AI-supported digital sales tools will make finding the ideal choice easier and more precise, customer-immersive and fun.

    Have you already played with our new survey tool? If so, did you find an enticing course within our range of innovation training courses? Then, contact us to so that we can jointly explore how we may best edutain you with our experiential Thinkergy innovation training courses. 

    © Dr. Detlef Reis 2019


  • Case Study: VIVA Creative Studio

    What's going on when "creative awesomeness" meets "know how to wow"? 

    On April 26, 2019, Thinkergy enlightened VIVA Creative Studio on the features and applications of our cognitive profiling tool TIPS in "The TIPS Innovation Profiling Workshop". As VIVA is already a bold creative agency full of creativity, the training focused more on the many business applications of TIPS (and not so much on its innovation applications). 

    We talked about how to better manage people in line with their preferred cognitive styles, how to resolve conflict at work, and how to empathize with people from a different TIPS home base (theories, ideas, people, systems), among others.

    The training was part of a TIPS Talent Alignment & Acquisition Project that followed three objectives: 

    1. To inform VIVA about what talents it already has on board
    2. To map out and analyze the talent mix in the entire agencies and key work teams
    3. To make recommendations on how to realign internal talents, as well as close crucial delivery gaps through a TIPS-informed acquisition of fresh talents.

    Want to know how TIPS can benefit your team? Contact us to learn more about TIPS workshops. 

  • The War on Talent is a Myth - So What's the Real Challenge?

     Have you ever heard about the “war for talent”? The term appeared first in a 1997 research study by McKinsey and was popularized in the 2001 book of the same title. In The War for Talent, Michaels et al. argue that companies have to navigate an increasingly competitive landscape for recruiting and retaining talented employees. Demographic shifts and increasing demand for highly skilled knowledge workers are responsible for the predicted talent shortage. In response to the call to win in The War for Talent, the talent management industry gained momentum and grew in popularity.

    Twenty years later, we may ask in hindsight: Have many organizations suffered from a shortage of talented people during the past two decades? Indeed, companies face difficulties to find enough talents for specific roles in certain industries (e.g., IT developers). However, the “war for talent” has proved to be a myth. In most areas and countries, talents abound. So, if we’re not short of talent, what’s the real challenge? Most organizations are unable to recognize the real “personal assets” of their human capital and how to best use them. Today and in two weeks, we’ll explore in a two-articles episode how human resource managers can better manage human capital along the talent management cycle with the help of TIPS Innovation Profiles, Thinkergy’s cognitive profiling assessment for business and innovation.

    Introduction: The talent management lifecycle

    Talent management aims to anticipate an organization’s requirements for human capital. Then, strategic plans plot how to meet those talent needs effectively. Talent management includes all activities to plan, recruit, onboard, manage, develop, reward, and set free talented managers and employees.

    The literature on human capital management presents these key activities along with a lifecycle model: the talent management lifecycle. While various concepts differ in detail, there is a widespread consensus on certain stages that talents pass through while working for an organization.  In the following, I outline how TIPS can support the talent management efforts of the human capital function. Thereby, I move along the various stages of the talent lifecycle and its three main objectives (recruit—retain—release talent).

    Talent management aims to anticipate an organization’s requirements for human capital. Then, strategic plans plot how to meet those talent needs effectively. Talent management includes all activities to plan, recruit, onboard, manage, develop, reward, and set free talented managers and employees.

    The literature on human capital management presents these key activities along with a lifecycle model: the talent management lifecycle. While various concepts differ in detail, there is a widespread consensus on certain stages that talents pass through while working for an organization.  In the following, I outline how TIPS can support the talent management efforts of the human capital function. Thereby, I move along the various stages of the talent lifecycle and its three main objectives (recruit—retain—release talent).

    Stage 1: Talent planning

    Talent planning is a strategic approach that involves identifying key positions and roles, understanding critical skills requirements and gaps, and creating transition and succession plans to keep critical roles filled with top players today and in the future. The practice encompasses the assessment of an organization’s current level of talent, predicting the future talent needs necessary to achieve its strategic objectives, and then creating corresponding action strategies for recruiting, retaining and releasing talents.

    TIPS can be a valuable conceptual tool to help talent planners gauge an appropriate cognitive mix in an organization’s talent pool. Depending on the industry and the evolutionary phase in the business cycle, a company or strategic business unit needs more talents with specific personality profiles and related cognitive styles. For example, banks or accounting firms have a greater need for quantitative, analytical thinkers, while agencies in the creative industries need a high proportion of qualitative creative thinkers. With regards to the business cycle phase, a fast-growing company needs to focus on bringing in more operational knowledge workers to solidify its backend, while a company threatened by digital transformation needs to look for agile, creative talents who drive change as the organization begins a new business cycle to avoid disruption and creative destruction.

    Stage 2: Talent acquisition

    Talent acquisition is all about hiring the right person for an open position. How can TIPS help organizations to acquire the right talents who cognitively fit the requirements of a particular job (and prevent them from hiring the wrong people)? In a TIPS talent acquisition project, we use a gamified approach to help a human resources team translate the job description for each open position into compatible TIPS profiles. Typically, every role has a primary TIPS profile representing an ideal cognitive fit and 1-3 secondary profiles that are possibles.

    Then, human resources invite all shortlisted candidates to take the TIPS online test to determine their TIPS profile. Next, we check for the cognitive job fit of each candidate. When the recruitment committee members conduct the final job interviews with the shortlisted top candidates, they can ask specific questions to validate the cognitive suitability of each candidate further. Finally, they decide on the best candidate considering all position-specific competencies (knowledge, skills, expertise, and cognitive profile).

    Would you like to get more details on a TIPS-empowered talent recruitment process? Check out an earlier article titled How to hire the right talents with TIPS.

    Stage 3: Talent onboarding

    When a new talent joins an organization, they often first go through an orientation program that helps to familiarize them with their new organization. After the initial “honeymoon period”, however, many talents are left alone in living up to the expectation of their new boss and colleagues.

    One onboarding approach to help new talents to integrate into their new organization successfully, and avoid disillusionment, is to assign them a mentor. Here, TIPS can help to ensure that the mentor has a similar, or ideally, the same TIPS profile as a new talent. Why is this useful?

    People with the same or similar profiles and cognitive preferences tend to like each other. They share similar viewpoints and cognitive styles. Hence, a TIPS-compatible mentor can share with her mentee how to effectively navigate the company culture (the real one, not its public relations version) while staying true to one’s natural talents and personality.

    Interim conclusion and outlook:

    Today, I have explained how TIPS can support the initial recruitment phase of the talent management lifecycle with its three stages of talent planning, talent acquisition, and talent onboarding. In two weeks, part 2 of this article will explore how companies can better manage the remaining two phases of the talent management lifecycle: talent retainment (with the five stages talent (re-)alignment, management, development, performance, and leadership) and talent release (with the final lifecycle stage talent transition).

    • Are you a Human Resources Manager and would like to learn more about how Find A Certified Trainer can help you better manage your human capital?
    • Are you curious about what’s your TIPS profile? Click to take your test now and receive your in-depth 36-page profile report for just $89.
    • Would you like to find out more about our TIPS training? Contact to tell us more.

    © Dr. Detlef Reis 2019

  • Who Should Be Trained In What?

    In times of exponential change, what keeps us employable and our knowledge and skills base relevant and up-to-date? Continuous learning. Of course, life-long learning is first and foremost and individual responsibility. But to continuously develop their human capital to meet the requirements of the workplace of the future, companies need to invest in up-skilling training, too. Here, a couple of exciting questions arise: Who should undergo what kind of training programs? Why? And how can you get more out of your time and monetary investments in training? 

    I give you a simple answer to all these questions: By aligning your human capital development efforts with the cognitive preferences of your human talents with the help of TIPS - Thinkergy’s cognitive profiling method for business and innovation.

    How TIPS supports human talent management

    TIPS profiles people with the help of the four TIPS Bases (Theories, Ideas, People, Systems) and the four TIPS Styles (to think, work, interact, and live) into 11 innovator profiles, each of which occupies a dedicated space on the TIPS Profiling Map.

    Talent development is the fourth and last element of how to manage your human capital with the help of TIPS. So what are the other factors (that we already discussed separately in earlier TIPS articles):

    • Talent acquisition: Hire the right people for open positions. Ensure a cognitive fit between the responsibilities and requirements of particular vacant jobs and a candidate.
    • Talent awareness: Make everyone become aware of their personal “assets”, and play on their strengths, while using complementary profiles to compensate for one’s weaknesses. 
    • Talent (re-)alignment: Put the right person into the right job. Make everyone work in those functional areas, and do those things, that come naturally easy to them. If necessary, realign some team members to allow them to work in a position and role that better fits their natural talents.
    • Finally, talent development: Up-skill all of your talents with specific training programs that align with everyone’s individual capabilities and interests. In other words, expand and deepen the knowledge and skills repertoire in those areas that further their natural strengths, rather than improve on their weaknesses. So, who should be trained in what?

    Talent Development: What training contents fit what kind of cognitive profile?

    Naturally, the scope and topic range of learning and development programs vary by industry and organizational type. As such, the training topics I suggest below are more general and apply to a wide range of industries. Moreover, I believe in providing training in critical business thinking skills for the 21st century to all of your human talents (such as Critical Thinking, Creative Thinking, Visual Thinking, Problem Solving, Decision Making).

    With this in mind, what training courses and directions cater to the natural talents of each of the 11 TIPS profiles? Starting on the top left corner of the TIPS Profiling Map, and then moving around clockwise, let me introduce the different TIPS profiles and suggest sample training courses that these people tend to find appealing:

    • Theorists enjoy academic training courses such as Business Research Methodologies & Skills, Science Theory, as well as Quantitative Analysis & Statistics. They are also good at learning computer programming languages (such as Python, SQL, R). Finally, Theorists will be thrilled to take training courses in areas that will drive the Sixth Wave, such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Deep Learning, among others.
    • The geeky, strategic Conceptualizers are quick learners and natural big picture thinkers. So, they enjoy strategy-related courses (e.g., Strategic Management, Strategy Innovation) as well as in trend- and future-related courses topics (such as Technology Road-Mapping,  Future Thinking & Foresight Methods). As they link the Theories- to the Ideas-base, they also enjoy learning about newly emerging technologies, such as Big Data Analysis or  Blockchain. 
    • The Ideas-base at the top right of the TIPS Profiling Map is home to Ideators. These people delight in progressive training courses that equip them with knowledge and skills to help them in pushing boundaries. They love training in Business Creativity & (Disruptive) Innovation, and, if more senior, are ideal candidates for undergoing in Creative Leadership development program. Being the most dynamic profile in TIPS, they also relish learning about Entrepreneurial Thinking & Business Start-up Skills.
    • Connecting the Ideas- to the People-base in TIPS, Promoters love to learn about Marketing, Brand Management, and Public Relation Management. Nowadays, they eagerly sign-up for courses in Digital Marketing and Social Media Marketing, too. Promoters also take pleasure in upskilling training courses such as Presentation Skills, Persuasion Skills, and Copywriting. 
    • Sitting on the bottom right corner of the TIPS Profiling Map at the People-base, Partners are ideal candidates for training in Negotiation Skills and Sales Management. They also appreciate undergoing training in Customer Services and Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Other training courses that cater to their natural talents include Team Management, Product Management, Change Management, Diversity Management, and Emotional Intelligence.

    • Bridging the Theories- and Ideas-bases, Organizers are the ideal candidates for Project Management training programs. They also enjoy learning about Operations Management and Production Management, as well as Time Management.
    • Squarely rooted at the Systems-base at the bottom left of the TIPS map, Systematizers restructure, monitor and control the backend of business. As such, they believe it’s time and money well invested if you send them to training courses such as Performance Management (including specific methods such as the Balanced Score Card System), Corporate Risk Management & Compliance, and Quality Management.
    • Technocrats reconcile the Theories- with the Systems-base. They appreciate training courses that develop their quantitative-analytical and administrative business skills, such as Accounting, Financial Analysis,  Business Intelligence Analysis, Knowledge Management, as well as Business Law.
    • Coaches bridge the divide between the Theories- and People-base. They love learning more about humanistic topics, such as  Talent Management and Conflict Resolution. Theoretical Coaches are intrigued by courses in Philosophy or Business Ethics, while people-oriented Coaches enjoy taking classes in Leadership and (Life) Coaching.
    • Experimenters link the Systems- and the Ideas-bases. They may get a kick out of IT-related training courses (including Cyber Security). They also tend to enjoy practical “How To”-courses in areas such as Franchising, Lean Processes, Lean Start-Ups, as well as Industrial Design, Product Design & Prototyping.
    • Located in the center of the TIPS Profiling Map, All-Rounders exhibit multi-faceted talents because they are interested in and good at many things. Moreover, some young professionals at the beginning of their careers may also come out of a TIPS profiling exercise as All-Rounders, which is often because they still lack a broader repertoire of work experiences. So, how to best train these multitalented colleagues? Let them choose topics that interest and intrigue them, thus strengthening their knowledge and skills repertoire while at the same time giving them a chance to discover a direction into which they would like to specialize in going forward.

    Conclusion: Align training contents with learners’ natural interests

    Human capital development is more important than ever for companies to turn the digital innovation economy’s challenges into opportunities for further growth. Maximize your return on training investment by aligning the course contents with the cognitive preferences and natural interests of each of your talents. How can you start the process?

    • As an individual, buy an online test coupon for just $89 and get TIPS-ed now.
    • If you’re a business leader or corporate human capital manager, then contact us to profile all your talents with TIPS — and ideally also consider investing in a TIPS training to make the different styles come alive for everyone to see. 

    © Dr. Detlef Reis 2019


  • 11 Innovator Profiles: What Innovator Type Are You?

    Welcome to all of you in the New Year 2019! How can you skyrocket your career and improve the odds of success of your company in 2019? By innovating. After all, we’re in a new year, but we’re still in the Innovation Economy, where innovation is the name of the game.

    But how can you best contribute to corporate innovation with your natural talents and unique strengths? By understanding —and innovating in harmony with— your personal innovator type. Today, allow me to tell you more about the 11 innovator profiles of TIPS, Thinkergy’s Innovator Profiling System. 

    CLICK TO ENTER OUR "IGNITE INNOVATION CONTEST" FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN 100 TIPS INNOVATION PROFILES FOR YOUR ORGANIZATION.

    Introducing the 11 innovator profiles in TIPS

    In the following (in alphabetical order), I introduce you to the 11 innovator profiles that we distinguish in TIPS. Thereby, I will briefly touch upon each profile’s preferred cognitive style to give you a better understanding on how the different innovator types prefer to think, work, interact, live and innovate. Finally, you will learn what famous leaders exemplify the base orientations and preferred cognitive style of the 11 innovator types. Here we go:

    The All-Rounder:

    All-Rounders are the most flexible and well-balanced among all innovator types in TIPS. They are broadly talented. They can do almost anything well, and enjoy working in many different roles and on many different projects. All-Rounders can juggle many balls at the same time without dropping a single one, which makes them a valuable and well-liked team member in any innovation project. Charles Burgess Fry, Daley Thompson and Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner represent the spirit of such multi-faceted innovator types. 

    The Coach:

    Among all 11 innovator profiles in TIPS, Coaches are special as they are as rare as unicorns. This is because these philosophical innovators bridge a divide between the two polar TIPS bases Theories and People. Coaches care about the full development of the human potential. So, they prefer to direct their innovation efforts to the theory-based creation of educational, humanistic, or even spiritual products, services or solutions that elevate people to a higher level. Mahatma Gandhi, Carl Gustav Jung and Martin Luther King, Jr. may well represent this humanistic innovator type. 

    The Conceptualizer:

    Conceptualizers are geeky, brainy big-picture innovators who are all about the knowledge-based creation of concepts, methods and tools. These fast learners and thinkers quickly pick-up fresh knowledge and emerging technological trends springing out of the Theories-base, and transform these into new concepts, products and solutions. Conceptualizers enjoy joining projects that aim for creating disruptive change, and rather prefer to work alone as others can’t keep up with their speed of thinking. Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Albert Einstein are role models of this conceptual innovator type.

    The Experimenter:

    Experimenters are innovators who enjoy improving existing things (products, processes, business models, etc.) by systematically testing ideas. They love to take things apart and look “under the hood”, then gradually fix all the bugs they spot — something that doesn’t work as it should or is a suboptimal or unaesthetic design. Finally, they re-assemble the reconfigured parts into a new, improved and better whole. Henry Ford, Ray Kroc and James Dyson exemplify this experimental innovator type.

    The Ideator:

    For Ideators, life is all about ideas, innovation and change. Among the 11 innovator profiles in TIPS, they are the most daring, radical and dynamic innovator type. While Experimenters create something better out of something, Ideators have the drive and energy to create something new out of nothing — be it a new product, service, solution or experience, a new brand, or a new venture. They’re equally happy working on innovation alone or as part of a team for as long as the project pushes for bold, disruptive change. Leonardo da Vinci, Walt Disney and the older Steve Jobs are fine examples of this progressive innovator type.

    The Organizer:

    Organisers are hands-on, practical innovators who are all about organized service and operational excellence. Being grounded and down-to-earth, they naturally focus with all of their senses on all the small details of an operation. They prefer to innovate as part of a team, and are more adaptive in their style to innovate, meaning that they prefer to gradually and steadily improve on an existing process or service rather than creating it from scratch. Sam Walton, Fred Smith, and Winston Churchill exemplify this operational innovation type.

    The Partner:

    Partners are experiential, empathetic innovators who deeply care about people and relationships. Among all innovator types, Partners are the ones who best know what your customers think, say and —most importantly— feel about your value offerings and brand. They equally enjoy working on innovation projects that are more adaptive (targeting continuous or incremental improvements) or more innovative (aiming for producing an evolutionary or even revolutionary innovation) for as long as they can tackle the challenge together with others in a harmonious team. J. Willard Marriott, Lee Iacoccia and Herb Kelleher are possible examples of this most empathetic innovator type.

    The Promoter:

    Among all 11 innovator profiles, Promoters are the best of spreading the word about, and creating a buzz for an innovation. These creative, charismatic and witty communicators are able to find the right words that inspire people to take a desired course of action, such as rallying behind a new social or political idea, buying a new product, or falling in love with a cool new brand. Promoters enjoy working on more progressive innovation projects together with others in a team. David Ogilvy, Mark Twain and the young Steve Jobs are role models of this communicative innovator type. 

    The Systematizer:

    Systematizers don’t IN-novate, but rather RE-novate in an orderly and controlled way. This is because they prefer stable systems and processes, cherish traditions and favor preserving the status quo. As such, they prefer to continuously or incrementally improve successful “old ideas” over creating new ones. Systematizers practice an adaptive style to innovate, pardon me, renovate, and are indifferent working on such a project alone or together with other members of a trusted group. Andrew Carnegie, Lakshmi Mittal and George Washington are exemplary role models for this preserving innovator type.

    The Technocrat:

    Technocrats enjoy applying bits and pieces of a well-established body of domain knowledge (e.g., financial theories, laws and legal interpretations, accounting standards and principles, etc.) in new, improved ways. These quantitative, analytical thinkers prefer to innovate alone in a more adaptive way, thereby slowly but steadily improving and fine-tuning the “rulebooks” they’re working on, be it a new policy, accounting standard, investment principle, or financial opportunity, among others. Warren Buffet, Benjamin Graham and Li-Ka Shing represent the energy of this more administrative innovator type.

    The Theorist:

    For Theorists, life is all about theories, knowledge and the truth. These rational big picture thinkers love to work on abstract, logical and often numerical challenges. They prefer to work alone by either adapting an existing theoretical concept, or expanding the existing base of knowledge with a new theory or technological concept. As such, Theorists operate at the front end of innovation, often inspiring new innovation initiatives of others with their theoretical, conceptual contributions. Isaac Newton, Stephen Hawking and Thomas Jefferson may exemplify this evidence-driven innovator type.  

    CLICK TO ENTER OUR "IGNITE INNOVATION CONTEST" FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN 100 TIPS INNOVATION PROFILES FOR YOUR ORGANIZATION.


    Conclusion: All people are innovators, albeit embracing their own style, speed and base orientations

    What innovator type am I in TIPS? I am a clear-cut Ideator. I love change. I enjoy creating something new out of nothing — be it a new venture (Thinkergy) or new innovation methods (X-IDEA, Genius Journey, CooL and TIPS). 

    And you? What innovator type are you? Are you more like Bill Gates or Herb Kelleher? Steve Jobs or Warren Buffet? Walt Disney or Andrew Carnegie?

    Find out which of the 11 TIPS innovator profiles fits your personality and preferred cognitive style for just USD 88.88. (Is that a lucky number? You bet. Do we ask you to surrender your next bonus to shine light on your innovator profile? Nope). Given the bearish outlook for the stock market for the year ahead, it may well be the best investment you make in 2019.

    CLICK TO ENTER OUR "IGNITE INNOVATION CONTEST" FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN 100 TIPS INNOVATION PROFILES FOR YOUR ORGANIZATION.

    Click here to get TIPS-ed and discover your innovator type. 

    © Dr. Detlef Reis 2019

     


  • How TIPS Helps You Boost Your ROI

    Have you ever had a sales meeting where you were pitching a great product that really addressed your client’s need, only to be cast aside by your counterpart with the killer phrase: “Can you demonstrate to me how this improves our ROI (return on investment)?” Today, let me share with you how to deal with the “ROI request” in a productive way using the example of TIPS, Thinkergy’s innovation people profiling method. So, how can TIPS help you improve the ROI of your company?

    Background: A frustrating sales meeting

    A few weeks ago, I had a meeting with an executive in charge of human capital development at a well-known corporation in the Food & Beverage industry. Once leading its category, the company nowadays largely milks its last few cash cow products to get by. “You need to start a new creative growth cycle to stop your decline in revenues and products”, I suggested to my counterpart, and added: “And I have the perfect tool to help you find those creative types in your organization to drive your creative renaissance. It’s called TIPS, our new people profiling tool for innovation.”

    I explained to him how TIPS can help him identify who responds how to creative change, and who are those few people in the organization who can actually lead and drive innovative change. In short, TIPS is the right tool at the right time to solve an important problem of the company. 

    Observing the closed body language of this prospect client, however, I realized that he was not open for a new, innovative method, and clearly is not one of those early adopters whom we target in the global roll-out of TIPS. So, it was not too surprising when he suddenly came up with the all-purpose kill-any-initiative statement: “I am willing to consider your product if you can make a very strong case how it helps us improve our ROI.” I nodded, thanked him for his time, and left.

    A few days later, I talked this situation over with a befriended consultant, who as my senior is blessed with 15 more years of professional experience and wisdom. I shared with him my point of view on the “ROI request”: I regard investing hours of time to establish a numeric ROI calculation to prove the bottomline implications of TIPS as a waste of time; this is because such a calculations needs to be based on a set of assumptions that may or not be true, and/or require the company to disclose to me a set of financial and business related data that may be too “confidential” (or in some cases too embarrassing) for them to share. “You’re right,” said my friend, “you cannot win with this approach, as it opens the door for much debate.” Then, he shared with me a better strategy to demonstrate how a product or new project initiative, can help boosting ROI: 

    • First, identify a major problem that the organization faces.
    • Then, demonstrate how your product is able to address and resolve the problem.
    • Finally, establish a logical causal chain that outlines how the benefits of using the product outweigh its costs, and how it improves ROI.

    How does this work in practice? In the following, I will make a case on how TIPS can help organizations boost their ROI by helping them to retain their top talents (through better recruitment, better alignment and better management of their talents), and by improving the innovativeness of the firm.

    How TIPS improves ROI by recruiting the right people

    My last article cited various studies reporting that the majority of companies perform poorly in recruiting the right person for an open position, leading to replacement costs of at least 20% of the salary. Moreover, two in three companies even admitted hiring the wrong person for the right job (i.e., people who cognitively fit the requirements of the position, but are sociopath, bullies or tyrants), leading to declining revenues, client relationships and employee motivation.

    The article also outlined how TIPS can ensure that companies hire the right person for the right job (and don’t hire the wrong person), thus effectively helping them to resolve the problem of a poor recruitment success ratio. How does this impact ROI?

    TIPS helps organizations to hire the right person for an open position. TIPS does this by making sure that the preferred cognitive styles and natural talents of a person fit the requirements of the job. If companies recruit the right people and use them in the right job, then the new recruits tend to perform easily and effortlessly in their role, and their outstanding job performance increases the ROI of the organization. 

    TIPS also prevents organizations from hiring the wrong person for the right job. This helps avoid direct employee replacement costs, and spares organizations from the negative impacts on their bottomline (as described above) and from higher employee turnover (which in four out of five cases is rooted in bad hiring decisions, as we discussed two weeks ago). TIPS makes it likely to identify such “wrong people” ahead of time, helping you to avoid the related decreases in ROI (due to lower sales and higher employee replacement costs).

    How TIPS boosts ROI by retaining more of your top talents

    High employee turnover is another major problem that many companies face. What causes this problem (apart from poor hiring practices as just discussed above)?

    1. High employee turnover may partially be attributed to the generational shifts in the modern workplace. Unlike previous generations, many Gen Y knowledge workers don’t want to labour in a job only for the money; they also want to do meaningful work. If they notice that in their present job they cannot make a positive contribution to the world, they may look for another one that promises them a better chance to make meaning. 
    2. Another reason for high employee turnover may be because companies use too many of their employees in roles that do not perfectly align to their natural strengths. Put in other words, too many companies haven’t put the right person in the right job. This is a waste of talent, because each mismatch prevents a person from performing at their natural best.
    3. Evidence from many studies suggests that employees don’t leave companies, they leave bad bosses. For example, a recent Gallup study found that one in two employees left a job and company they otherwise liked because of a bad manager or immediate supervisor who doesn’t care for their needs and cannot relate to their preferred cognitive styles. (Funny enough, my move away from Deutsche Bank (whom I had loyally served for 16 years and owed a lot as they supported my studies) was triggered by a few managers who weren’t able to relate to my personality and cognitive styles).

    Corporate Chief Human Resource Officers, it’s time to face an inconvenient truth: Those people who volunteer to leave your company because of a hollow, misaligned job or a poor manager are typically the strong, dynamic, self-confident types; and among those who stay is a lot of deadwood.

    How can TIPS boost your ROI by helping you retain your top talents?  

    • TIPS enables you to realign your talents to make sure that everyone works in a role that fits their natural talents and strengths, while having other profiles fill in for each other’s weaknesses. As Albert Einstein noted: “If you judge a fish by it’s ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.” Fish perform easily and effortlessly in the water, as do monkeys on trees. So, TIPS allows you to align everyone in a business unit to do those things that naturally come easy to them, and to outperform effortlessly in their role. And if individual and team performance increase, so does ROI.

    • TIPS also allows you to manage each talent in harmony with their preferred cognitive styles. For example, as an Ideator, I hate being micro-managed, working on dull routine tasks and being checked upon on a daily or weekly basis. You manage Ideators like me by agreeing with them at the beginning of the year on a few ambitious growth targets and an intellectually stimulating, creative project initiative. Then, provide them the few resources that they ask for, and finally let them do the job while keeping an open door in case they seek your feedback.

    Putting the right person into the right job, and managing them in line with their preferred cognitive styles, both improves employee satisfaction and empowerment, and reduces the likelihood that your talents listen to other job offers or even openly look around for new opportunities. Hence, employee turnover goes down, employee replacement costs decrease, and your ROI goes up.

    How TIPS boosts ROI by improving your innovation performance

    The modern innovation economy mandates companies to either come up with more meaningful innovations or quickly fall behind in their industry. According to studies cited in an earlier article titled “How innovation affects financial performance”, innovative firms grow faster and enjoy significantly higher profit margins than their non-innovative peers. So if TIPS can help companies to become more innovative, it is likely to boost their ROI. 

    So how does TIPS raise the innovativeness of an organization?

    Combined, all these TPS-powered innovation contributions will boost the innovation performance and outputs of your firm, which according to various studies, raises your ROI by 3-5% each year.

    Conclusion: TIPS — a small investment in human talent, a giant leap in ROI

    At a cost of USD 88.88 per test, TIPS can significantly improve your company’s ROI by helping you to: a) improve your success ratio of recruiting the right talents for open positions, b) increase individual and team performance at work through better talent alignment, c) increase talent retention by managing people in line with their preferred cognitive styles, and d) raising your firm’s innovativeness and innovation performance. 

    And you? When would you like to get TIPS-ed and take our new TIPS online test? Contact us to learn more about TIPS and our related training courses

    © Dr. Detlef Reis 2018

  • Manage People Better by Relating to Their Personal Styles

    Managing people in the modern globalized workplace is like herding cats. Managers need to effectively relate to people’s unique personal styles and to different cultural, educational and generational backgrounds. That’s easier said than done. But what if there were a tool helping managers better understand the individual personal styles of their team members?

    TIPS, the innovation people profiling method I’ve created for Thinkergy, allows executives to more effectively manage their various team members by recognizing their unique styles. Let’s understand how people differ in their style to think, work, interact and live their lives, and how you can get the best out of them by acknowledging these personal styles differences.

    Thinking style: Figure vs. Fantasy

    People who are all about Figure are left-brain-directed, analytical thinkers who like working with numbers, statistics and spreadsheets. They think sequentially, step-by-step following in scientific style.

    How to manage Figure thinkers? Appeal to and make good use of their analytical mind. Assign them quantitative roles and projects. Know that they document and file records of everything they do and that happens (including your HR discussions, so do create a record of important conversations, too).

    In contrast, Fantasy thinkers are right brain-directed, indicating they enjoy creativity, ideas, indulging in fantasies and envisioning a compelling future. They follow a more free-wheeling thinking style and may jump back and forth while working on an issue.

    How to manage Fantasy thinkers in line with their cognitive preferences? Stimulate and harness their creativity in qualitative roles and projects requiring ideas and imagination. Ask for their ideas whenever appropriate, and co-create solutions together with them (including their personal issues, such as career paths). But ensure they keep files, as they don’t enjoy shuffling paper.

    Work style: Brain vs. Brawn

    Brain workers are strategic, big picture thinkers who prefer working on abstract, conceptual projects. They focus on achieving ambitious, meaningful goals and have a medium- to long- term time horizon. “Brainiacs”are excellent creators and thinkers preferring to work with their heads in the clouds; they dislike having to “sweat the small stuff” associated with most managerial roles. They work in leap and bounds, alternating periods of intense cognitive work with relaxation and recreation.

    How to get the best work out of them in line with their preferred work style? “Brainiacs” are motivated by challenging projects. Agree on goals you want them to achieve in the medium term. Then trust they will figure out how to achieve them and contact you if they need help. Don’t micro-manage them.

    Brawn workers on the other hand are practical operational doers who prefer concrete, tangible tasks. They move forward task by task and get satisfaction from ticking on the boxes of their daily To-do list. They focus on getting the task at hand done well rather than working on gloomy goals.

    How to get “Brawniacs” work at their best? Because they focus more on achievement of short-term goals, they prefer short-term control loops where you give them feedback on how they’re doing. Hence, they don’t mind being micro-managed (and practice it themselves on subordinates if they’re the boss).

    Interaction style: Fact vs. Feeling

    Fact interactors are all about evidence-based communication and decision-making. They make their case based on data and hard facts, and can be very blunt and argumentative. They have low tolerance for nonsense as they care first and foremost about truth and intellectual honesty.

    How to best interact with these factual people? Do your homework and look up the facts involved in a project, task or case. Build up your arguments based on the evidence at hand to gain respect — and to avoid the embarrassment of being put on the spot if your argument isn’t sound.

    On the other hand, dealing with Feeling interactors is a piece of cake. They are friendly, caring and empathic. They consider other people’s feelings and points of view, including yours. They are very good at observing emotional cues that reveal others’ true thoughts and feelings. They prefer making decisions in a team or using their gut.

    How to manage them? “Feelers” care for appreciation, understanding and emotional bonding. Practice an interpersonal management style here. Show sincere concerns for their work and life challenges. Listen to their empathic perspectives. Involve them in decisions whenever possible to reach a consensus or at least seek their understanding and agreement.

    Lifestyle: Form vs. Flow

    Form people relish the status quo. They prefer living in a stable world where traditions and rituals are honored and everything has its formal order. They are dependable, punctual, and set. As they enjoy optimizing projects and realizing efficiencies, they dislike others rocking the boat and fixing things that ain’t broken.

    How to best manage them in harmony with their lifestyle preference? Show them you appreciate their high reliability and commitment to your organization and welcome their contributions. If your company goes through a transformation, know that Form-oriented people tend to resist change, so help them adjust.

    In contrast, Flow people go with the flow of life. They are flexible, agile and progressive. They love variety, progress and change. In fact, they drive change and create the truly new — the bigger and bolder the better. They relish taking a bold risk they consider worthwhile. They express their individuality and own opinions, and are less concerned with punctuality and etiquette.

    How to manage Flow people? Give them freedom to roam in space and time. Don’t lock them into a cubicle-prison. Tolerate their quirks and informal ways, knowing that geniuses are highly individualized. Offer them a chance to dedicate some of their work time to innovative projects that interest them — and also help your firm. They may thank you by coming up with the Next Big Thing.

    Conclusion

    TIPS distinguishes eleven innovator profiles that differ from each other in their preferred personal styles to think, work, interact, live and innovate: The Theorist, Ideator, Partner, Systematizer, Conceptualizer, Promoter, Organizer, Technocrat, Coach, Experimenter and All-Rounder. Each of these personas requires a different management approach based on their unique styles. When would now be a great moment for you to shift from a “one-size-fits-all” management style to a TIPS-informed personalized management approach?

    Contact us if you want to learn more about the TIPS innovation people profiling method.

    © Dr. Detlef Reis 


  • How to Hire the Right Talents with TIPS

    Have you ever heard of the expression “put the right man into the right job”? Bet you have. Given the wide popularity of this cliché, we can expect that most companies are doing a good job when hiring the right person for an open position, can’t we? Interestingly, numerous surveys indicate the opposite. Today, let’s explore why talent acquisition is so challenging for most companies, and how the inclusion of a cognitive profiling tool such as TIPS can help you to increase the odds of hiring the right person for the right job.

    Background: The staffing game

    In the TIPS Innovation Profiling Workshop, one game we play with delegates is a staffing game. Whereby, each team has to staff 11 open positions related to innovation. They have 15 candidates (each featured with a short biographical and professional profile) who vie to get hired. For every position, there is one ideal candidate (“the right person for the right job”). Moreover, just like in real life, among the applicants there are also a few “wrong people” (whose profile descriptions are based on famous movie villains).

    At the end of the game, most teams have succeeded in putting at least a few right people into the right job. Typically, they will also have hired one or more of the villains (and often will have even placed the “wrong person into the right job”, thus setting them up for causing maximum damage). Clearly, staffing is important and difficult, which is the key message we want to convey to delegates with the little game. 

    The scope and cost of poor hiring

    We intend our TIPS staffing game to represent reality. So, how do companies perform in hiring or talent acquisition game in real life? Here are a selected few of many sobering statistics on the success ratios and related costs of hiring: 

    • In a 2017 survey by CareerBuilder, three out of four companies admitted to have hired the wrong person for a position. Companies estimated the average loss per poor hire at roughly USD 15,000.
    • Forbes estimates the typical cost of replacing an employee at 21% of their annual salary.
    • According to a study from the National Business Research Institute, two out of three employers reported they experienced negative effects of bad hires in 2016. Putting the “wrong person into the right job” led to a decrease in sales for 10% of these companies, and negatively affected employee morale (37%) and client relationships (18%). 
    • According to the Harvard Business Review, 80% of employee turnover has its roots from bad hiring decisions.

    Given the low success rates of putting the right person into the right job, a cynic may be tempted to recommend a hiring line manager and supporting Human Resources manager to save time and costs and rather flip a coin on the top candidates. This may increase their success ratio. So, is there anything that companies can do to improve their odds of recruiting the right talent for the right job? 

    Yes. Include a cognitive profiling tool (such as Herrmann’s Brain Dominance Instrument or Alan Black’s free MIND Design concept) into the recruitment exercise. Or simply use TIPS.

    What is TIPS? And how can it help you in talent acquisition?

    In our TIPS staffing game, the job descriptions of the 11 vacant positions connect to the 11 TIPS innovator profiles. I based the applicant profile of the “right person” for each “right job” on the personality characteristics and biographical data of a famous real-life innovator (for example, Walt Disney is the ideal fit for the open position that calls for the creative change energy of an Ideator, while the Experimenter profile draws upon Apple’s Chief Designer Jonathan Ive). Of course, I created the job profiles and applicant profiles for the TIPS staffing game on the drawing board, but we would largely employ a similar procedure in a real-life hiring project for a company:  

    • You have job positions that connect to certain profiles in TIPS. 
    • You have candidates who apply for the job.
    • We assign a TIPS profile to each applicant depending on how they answer the TIPS questionnaire. 
    • Because all questions in the TIPS questionnaire connect to the four TIPS bases (Theories, Ideas, People, Systems) and the four TIPS styles (to think, work, interact and live), we gain a lot of data input for detailed follow-up questions that allows us —and you!— to check not only how well the different candidates cognitively fit a particular position, but also how consistently and congruently they have answered. 

    How can you use TIPS to hire the right person?

    Below, I outline a 7-step process on how to include TIPS (or a similar cognitive profiling tool of your choice) as part of your hiring process and toolset:

    1. Describe the open position in detail. For each open position, create a detailed job description that outlines the following: a) Job title or name; b) Role summary; c) Duties & responsibilities; d) Qualifications & skills; e) Decision authority; f) Performance goals and desired target outputs.
    2. Translate each open job position into a compatible TIPS profile. When we consult companies on important hiring projects, we work with the hiring managers to help them figure out the ideal TIPS profile for a particular position. We do this by using a card set with descriptive adjective labels that relate to the different positions and profiles. Apart from a primary target profile, we also identify 2-3 “secondary profiles” that represent good (but not “ideal”) fits.
      For example, suppose you wanted to hire a Finance Manager. Then, you may pick descriptive attribute cards such as  “quantitative”, “analytical” and “controlling”. The ideal TIPS profile to fit this position is a Technocrat, with Systematizers or Theorists being possibles. In contrast, say you needed to recruit a new Creative Director for an Ad Agency. Here, you probably look for someone who is “creative”, “flamboyant” and “expressive”. So, a Promoter would be the best fitting TIPS profile, with Ideators and Partners being acceptable alternatives.
    3. Have all shortlisted candidates take the TIPS online test. Contact Thinkergy or a certified TIPS trainer or coach to order a TIPS online test for each candidate (if you order larger numbers in bulk, you can enjoy a price benefit). After you’ve paid for the test, each candidate gets a test coupon to complete the test. We make sure that just like the candidate, you will receive a copy of their reports with their test results.
    4. Analyze the cognitive job fit of each candidate. Do one or more candidates fully fit the ideal profile identified in step 1? Do some of the applicants profile as one of the secondary profiles? Who doesn’t seem to fit the open position well based on their cognitive profiling test result? 
    5. Consider having a certified TIPS coach take part in the final job interviews. Especially if you have to fill a vacancy in senior management, or plan to recruit a larger number of people, consider inviting a certified TIPS coach to be part of the interview committee. For each candidate, your TIPS coach will do a deeper level analysis of the overall TIPS test results and all individual answers, and use the insights to devise a set of practical questions for the job interview (e.g., “You answered in your TIPS questionnaire that you always plan your work day and tend to stick to what’s scheduled. Can you walk us through a typical workday of yours, and give us some examples?”).
      By paying close attention to the verbal and non-verbal answers to such probing questions, it’s more likely to spot inconsistencies in the way candidates portray themselves in the test, and how they answer when put on the spot in the interview. Thereby, your TIPS coach will also listen for keywords that candidates habitually use, as the different profiles tend to use certain words more frequently than the other profiles.
      This plausibility check can both help you avoid hiring “false positives” (people who pretend to be the right person for the job, but likely have a different cognitive profile in reality than they portrayed themselves to have while answering the online test) and “false negatives” ( i.e., those sociopaths, bullies and tyrants who tend to hide their self-centred, misanthropic and antisocial behaviours in normal interviews, and who 66% of companies in the NBRI study only identified as a bad hire ex post after they had ran havoc on their business). 
    6. Specify the cognitive fit of each candidate to an open position. Finally, your TIPS coach can classify all shortlisted candidates into three categories: “Ideal fits” (candidates who fit the ideal profile and seem to answer coherently and plausibly); “possibles” (secondary TIPS profiles); and “non-fits” (other TIPS profiles — or all candidates with too many implausible, incongruent answers), If desired, your TIPS coach can also rank the candidates in relation to their perceived fit to the open position, or assign them a rating score (say, from 1 to 6).
    7. Finally, decide. At the end of the day, your recruitment committee or senior managers need to make a decision on who to hire. Alongside other factors, such as each candidates’ perceived (a) professional fit(their knowledge, skills and experiences repertoires) and (b) cultural & value fit, the c) cognitive fit is one key decision criteria to consider. If you use a rational decision-making tool (such as the Weighted Scoring Model), each of these criteria would be one line in your decision matrix for which you would need to agree on a proportional weight. Then, each manager involved in the hiring decision would rate each candidate for each decision criteria. Finally, you can compute the “rational choice”. Before you go on and act on the hiring decision, however, ask how everyone involved in the process feels about the choice, thus allowing those with a bad gut feeling about the “optimal” candidate to speak up and voice their concern.

    Conclusion: Include cognitive profiling tests in your talent acquisition efforts

    Using a sophisticated cognitive profiling tool as part of your standard recruitment toolkit can noticeably improve your odds of success in hiring the right person for the right job (so you can use that coin for another purpose than flipping heads and tails on candidates). But does it fully protect you from hiring the “wrong man” for the “right job”? While it doesn’t give you complete certainty, it will make it more likely that you can identify potential bad hires in advance. 

    Imagine that the “Joker” from the Batman movies (who is one of the villains in our TIPS staffing game) applied for a job in your product development team. In TIPS, the Joker would profile as an Ideator, thus making him an ideal fit for product development. So, how can you avoid releasing a series of new “explosive” products into the market in the coming years? Simply involve a certified TIPS coach into the interview process. Have her ask the right probing questions, then listen between the lines for revelations of bad character (for example, when asked for his preferred creative process, someone like the Joker may state that “every act of creation is first an act of destruction”), and you’re more likely to spot those villains in fiction and in real life ahead of time.

    Do you want to learn more about TIPS? Would you like find out more about our TIPS training for your organization? Or would you like us to help you in your talent acquisition efforts in a TIPS consulting project? Contact us to tell us more about how we may help you. 

    © Dr. Detlef Reis 2018


  • How to Boost Work Productivity and Performance with TIPS

    “Stressing output is the key to improving productivity, while looking to increase activity can result in just the opposite”, noted the French post-Impressionist artist Paul Gauguin. Having produced more than 500 paintings in his 55 years of life, Gaugin clearly exemplified output focus at work. How does this compare to what’s going on in modern business? 

    Nowadays, countless businesspeople are frantically busy at work. Sadly, all too many of them forget that busy-ness doesn’t equate with productivity. Productivity is the quantity of output delivered in a certain amount of time (such as an hour, day, week, month or year). At the end of the day, business is about producing tangible results — of creating meaningful outputs that matter and which will make a positive difference. 

    But have you ever noticed that different types of people tend to be good at producing different kind of outputs? For example, salespeople who are good at closing deals are often poor in research. Geeks who first apply emerging new technologies and excel at forecasting trends tend to overlook important details when asked to organize a big event. Today, let’s understand with the help of the TIPS Profile why all of this is the case. 

    So, who is good at producing what kinds of outputs? And what does this all mean for executives charged to enhance productivity and performance?

    What is TIPS? And why can it help increase productivity and performance at work?

    TIPS, Thinkergy’s innovation profiling system, uses the four TIPS bases (theories, ideas, people, systems, which are social attractor fields that energize people’s activities) and the four TIPS styles (to think, work, interact and live) to connect people to one of 11 TIPS profiles (or innovator types). Each TIPS profile has a unique talent combination that allows a person to work well and thrive in certain conducive environments. 

    When your work focus aligns to your natural talents, it is EEE (easy, effortless and enjoyable) for you to produce outstanding work outputs; your excellent productivity and performance results advance both your company and career. If you work in an environment that doesn’t suit your styles and talents, however, work often feels DDD (difficult, drudging, and de-energizing); even if you try very hard to do well, your outputs rarely go above average. 

    So, wouldn’t it be great if you knew which target outputs you should focus on producing to play out your natural talents and perform at your best? And if you’re a manager, wouldn’t it be great to improve productivity and performance by better aligning everyone’s work and output focus? 

    What target outputs should each TIPS profile focus on?

    In the following, I propose a general “output category” that roughly outlines what kind of outputs each of the 11 TIPS profiles is best suited at producing. Then, I give you a few examples of how this can be translated into more concrete, tangible and —ideally— countable work outputs. Let’s explore one by one the primary output categories of each of the 11 TIPS innovator profiles. Thereby, on the TIPS Profiling Map, we move clockwise from top left along the four TIPS bases (Theories, Ideas, People, Systems):

    • Theorists deduce theoretical, scientific and arithmetical outputs.
      Of all the TIPS profiles, Theorists are the best at probing for evidence that reveals the truth. They enjoy verifying and advancing scientific theories; producing related research papers and academic books; writing code for computer programs, tech platforms and apps; creating new mathematical models; conducting complex statistical analysis, computing arithmetic solutions and deducing algorithms, among others. 
    • Conceptualizers conceive abstract, conceptual and forward-thinking outputs.
      Conceptualizers are the best at transforming knowledge into new concepts and applied technologies. They like to come up with new conceptual models, methods and tools; conceive consulting blueprints and related tailored solutions; build big data analysis platforms to unveil deep-level insights; create business plans and new business models; plot out trend maps, strategic road maps, and future scenarios; and the like.
    • Ideators create progressive, innovative and entrepreneurial outputs.
      Among all the TIPS profiles, Ideators are the ones who most relish change. Little wonder that they enjoy creating daring ideas for disruptive new products, services, solutions, experiences and concepts; imagine bold new visions of a more meaningful future; and start and often lead new business initiatives and start-up ventures, among others.
    • Promoters spin communicative, entertaining and inspirational outputs.
      Being charismatic, lively and funny, Promoters are the best to create a buzz for something new — be it a product, a brand, or a new movement or campaign. As such, they relish comping up with fresh brand designs; creative promotional campaigns for both traditional media and modern social media; witty slogans and taglines; attractive marketing brochures and materials; talk-of-the-town PR strategies and activities; blog articles and social media posts; and the like. Moreover, they also love to be on stage to “MC” an event, pitch an idea, or deliver a keynote or a sales presentation, among others.
    • Partners collaborate towards interpersonal, empathetic and deal-oriented outputs.
      Partners are all about other people and relationships. Of all the TIPS profiles, they tend to have the biggest network of contacts and the most harmonious relationships. Hence, they enjoy talking to existing customers in face-to-face meetings or in making phone calls; calling on and converting new prospects; closing a sale or striking a deal, and such like. 
    • Organizers sweat out operational, detail-oriented and serviceable outputs.
      Because they enjoy sweating the small stuff, Organizers are the best at getting things done. They enjoy producing concrete results day-by-day, be it manufactured articles; organized events; resolved customer service cases; processed and shipped orders, and so on.
    • Systematizers plod towards producing systematic, procedural and efficient outputs.
      Systematizers prefer producing outputs that add more structure to the backend of business, ensure procedural efficiency and compliance, and reliable performance of various organizational systems. As such, they focus on outputs like implemented and streamlined backend systems: redesigned business processes: executed compliance checks and reports; compiled rulebooks and compliance documents; performed performance checks and organizational restructuring; written performance reports and project reports, and the like.
    • Technocrats scrutinize information to produce administrative, legal and financial outputs.
      Among all the TIPS profiles, Technocrats most relish digging into and producing accurate financial accounts and reports, comprehensive legal texts, and administrative documents such as manuals, handbooks, administrative guidelines, as well as edited and revised texts of various kinds, among others.
    • Coaches relay philosophical, humanistic and motivational outputs.
      Coaches motivate humans to think, work, interact and live in better, more life-affirming ways. As such, their ultimate outputs are more enlightened human beings that —aligned to their natural talents— are able to better live up to their full potential. Outputs that Coaches produce en route to this noble goal include: motivational books, articles and other writings; personal and corporate value and mission statements; development goals and concrete action plans for individuals and teams; coaching calls and periodic progress assessments; and others.
    • Experimenters tinker with things to produce reconfigured, debugged and (re-)designed outputs.
      Compared to all other profiles, Experimenters have an obsession for taking things apart, to see what’s underneath the shiny surface, to notice bugs or things that can be improved, and then to end up with enhanced designs. So, they tend to come up with improved processes and fine-tuned systems; modified business models; redesigned and locally-adapted products and packagings; sketches, blueprints, mock-ups, and other prototypes; and the like.
    • All-Rounders contribute to a multitude of diverse outputs.  
      Last but not least, All-Rounders are able to work well on whatever project or task ends up on their desks. Their primary talent is doing many things well, although their final outputs may be less intricate than if you assigned the work to a specialist in one of the other TIPS profiles. 

    It goes without saying that the list of specific target outputs for each TIPS profile is indicative only. The range of concrete outputs can vary heavily across a multitude of professions and work roles, business functions, industries and organizational types. So, ask yourself: How can you “translate” these general output categories and indicative output examples to your business and organization? What specific work outputs can you add to this list? And what TIPS profile is probably the best to produce each of those additional outputs? 

    How to better align talent and output focus?

    Regardless of whether you’re managing individual performance for yourself, or as a manager for a team or business unit, or as a (Human Resources) executive for an entire organization, here are a few action tips on how to apply the aforementioned insights to boost productivity and performance of yourself, your people and your organization:

    1. Clarify the tangible work outputs that are connected to a role, business unit, or particular project. 
    2. Get yourself and everyone else in your team or business unit TIPS-ed. Do the TIPS online test to reveal the TIPS profile of yourself and other members of your team. Then, map out and analyse the profile mix in your work team. Finally, think about how to best align yourself and your team for higher productivity.  
    3. Take note of the primary and secondary target output categories of each profile. You’ve already learned that linked to your TIPS profile, you have a primary output category, which outlines those results and outcomes that you’re best at producing compared to other profiles. In addition, you also have at least two secondary output categories where you also tend to produce good outputs. You’ll find these supplementary output foci in the neighboring profiles that connect to your TIPS profile.
    4. Make everyone contribute in their “hotspot” or “sweat spots”. When assigning work tasks and projects as a manager to an individual or team, make sure that the activity fits the primary or one of the secondary output categories of the TIPS profiles of the people involved.  
    5. Clarify and document the desired outputs for each person in a HR performance review meeting. What target outputs do you want each team member to focus on in the year ahead? Are they fully or at least largely aligned to person’s TIPS profile?
    6. Take note of how different output categories run on different time scales. The profiles sitting at the bottom of the TIPS Profiling Map (Partner, Organizer, Systematizer) tend to mostly focus on producing outputs that show a result immediately or in the short-term (such as a day, week or month). For a manager, it’s easy to measure performance and assess progress over the year for these “brawny” workers. In contrast, the ultimate work outputs of those profiles on top of the TIPS Profiling Map (Theorist, Conceptualizer, Ideator) often show only in the medium- to long-term (from a quarter to a few years).
      Why is this? Well, it takes time to conduct outstanding research, develop a new-to-the-world technology, create a disruptive product, or get a new project initiative or start-up venture off the ground. As most corporate performance review cycles are annual, the ultimate results often take time to become noticeable. So, to avoid antagonizing those “brainy” workers, agree on interim performance and milestone outputs to assess the relative progress towards achieving the desired long-term target output.

    Do you want to learn more about TIPS Innovation Profiles? Would you like find out more about our TIPS training for your organization? Or would you like us to help you in a TIPS consulting project to define output categories for your organization, and then align your people to those categories that allow them to perform well? Contact us to tell us more about your needs, and we’re happy to help. 

    © Dr. Detlef Reis 2018

  • How to Scrutinize Popular Cognitive Profiling Methods (Part 2)

    Part 1 of this two-article episode introduced you to a variety of well-known personality tests or cognitive profiling methods. You may have already heard of —or even been tested in— tools such as Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), Herrmann’s Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI), DISC or the Enneagram. In today’s part 2, allow me to share how to scrutinize the underlying conceptual constructs and design architecture of a cognitive profiling method by answering the following questions: What conceptual features do almost all of these methods have in common? What shortcomings did I notice in many of the profiling tools that I tested? 

    In general, cognitive profiling methods add value because they allow us to learn more about ourselves and other people at work. Unfortunately, most traditional methods are only to a limited extent able to provide insights on how everyone can contribute to an organization’s innovation efforts, as I discovered while hunting for years for a suitable cognitive profiling tool to support the people-side of innovation. This is because most methods that I investigated suffer from one or more common methodological shortcomings. In the end, thinking about how to fix these perceived “bugs” led me to come up with a new cognitive profiling method for innovation: TIPS, Thinkergy’s Innovator Profiling System.

    What are common design features of most cognitive profiling concepts?

    Most cognitive profiling concepts share a set of common design features as follows: 

    • Use of dimensions: Most tools use between one and four dimensions to capture differences in personal styles. These theoretical constructs typically relate to particular cognitive or psychological theories. For example, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) uses four “preferences” linked to Carl Jung’s psychological theories to profile people; Herrmann’s Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI) draws upon brain theories to profile people using two dimensions mapped out in a four-by-four matrix; and Kirton’s Adaption-Innovation Inventory (KAI) falls back on his own theory to profile people using a one-dimensional construct. 
    • Use of a questionnaire to measure differences: All concepts capture individual differences by asking people to complete a profiling questionnaire. While the questionnaire design varies based on the overall architecture of each concept, a popular modus operandi is a four-box forced-choice questionnaire (e.g., DISC, M.I.N.D.). 
    • Numerical scoring of profiling results: After completing the questionnaire, most methods present the results in the form of numerical test scores (e.g., M Score of 0 + I Score of 11 + N Score of 0 + D Score of 1 = 12 is a sample result that I got after doing Black’s M.I.N.D. Design concept).
    • Use of a profiling map or table: The numerical test scores are often visualized in a profiling map and/or profiling matrix (e.g., HBDI, Wealth Dynamics). 
    • Assignment of profile types: Some but not all concepts assign distinct profile types to a person based on the test results. At times, these profiles carry an abstract and technical label (e.g., ENTP is one of sixteen profile types of MBTI that I mostly was assigned as a test result); at other times, they use descriptive names that relate to well-known professional roles (e.g., the supervisor and the architect are two of sixteen profile labels of Keirsey’s KTS). The number of profile types of concepts I came across varies between two and forty-nine in those concepts I got myself tested in. 

    What are common shortcomings of many cognitive profiling concepts?

    By testing a great variety of different cognitive profiling tools over almost a decade, I also noticed certain shortcomings, perceptual blindspots and application delivery gaps that got me thinking about how to fix these perceived suboptimal, missing or even “wrong” elements. So what are some of these suboptimal things I noticed? 

    1. Varying and limited number of construct dimensions:
      What is the best number of dimensions or theoretical constructs needed to adequately profile a person? While MBTI and KTS use four dimensions, many concepts suffice with only two-dimensional (WD, HBDI, MIND, Insights Discovery) or even one-dimensional constructs (KAI). Concepts with few dimensions emphasize certain aspects of personal style, but tend to neglect other facets relevant for business and innovation. Interestingly, for a few profiling concepts (including some popular ones that I won’t name), I was unable to understand their methodological design architecture and discern the underlying theoretical constructs. 
    2. Binary design of constructs:
      Many profiling tools interpret the test scores for a cognitive construct as an “either-or” result. For example, in MBTI, you ultimately come out as either an extravert or introvert. But could there be people who are both? Yes, I am one of them, and depending on the contextual situation and the required task at hand, I am as energized running a full-day innovation event in front of a large crowd as spending a day at my desk writing an article or a chapter of a book. Moreover, depending on the test version, I tend to come out more often as an Extravert, but at other times get profiled as an introvert.
    3. Profile allocation even in cases of nearly identical scores:
      In many profiling methods such as MBTI, you’re assigned a profile even when there are only tiny score differences for one or more tested dimensions. Suppose your test results in MBTI would be Extraversion vs. Introversion 51-49, iNtuition vs. Sensing 51-49, Thinking vs. Feeling 51-49 and Judging vs. Perceiving 51-49. In this case, MBTI assigns you a personality type (ENTJ), and that’s how everyone familiar with the method will look at you from now onwards. However, had 2-3 questions been formulated in a slightly different way, or had you not “overthought” your answers, you might have come out as an INFP instead. Of course, this problem is amplified if the expressions for two, three or even all four expressions are identical, making it difficult to classify such a balanced person within one of the 16 MBTI-profile “boxes” with confidence. 
    4. Too many or too few profiling questions:
      What is a fair number of questions to reliably measure the surveyed variables and to adequately profile a candidate? Here the art is to strike a right balance between time effectiveness of taking the test, and the accuracy of its result. While many candidates appreciate how quickly they can complete a short survey, some object that a short questionnaire is inadequate to capture sufficient aspects of their personal style — and vice versa in the case of a long questionnaire. Questions vary in number from as few as nine (M.I.N.D.) to more than a hundred (HBTI, some versions of MBTI).
    5. Too many or too few profiles:
      Suppose you’re a team manager using a cognitive profiling concept to capture the different personalities of your subordinates. Would you prefer to have no profiling types at all and having to recall the test scores only? Probably not. So we agree that having profiles is useful. But what is the best number of profiles to provide sufficient distinctions in style differences without overwhelming users? Are two profile types (KAI) or four profile types (Foresight) adequate to capture sufficient differences in style? Can you easily remember how sixteen profiles (MBTI, KTS) differ from each other? Here, eight to ten profiles seem to be a good number to strike a balance between offering diversity and avoiding over-complexity. 
    6. No descriptive profile labels:
      What do we call someone with a certain cognitive test score? Some profiling concepts (e.g., HBDI, MIND.) give candidates profile scores and detailed descriptions, but don’t use catchy names to describe a profile. Although the profile letters have become technical labels for trained insiders, MBTI suffers from this phenomenon, too. KTS resolved this problem by designating a more descriptive name related to well-known professional roles to each MBTI letter label. Laypeople shrug on hearing that I am an ENTP, but nod their heads when learning this means I am an innovator.
    7. No follow-up application suggestions:
      While providing detailed descriptions of a resulting profile, a number of concepts don’t offer enough concrete follow-up action recommendations to answer the questions: “So what? How to use a particular profiling result to make meaning? Specifically, how to use this result to better perform in business in general and with innovation in particular?” 
    8. No consideration of the dynamic and cyclical nature of business:
      Like many natural phenomena, most parameters in business (e.g., products, technologies, industries, and economies) pass through cyclical wave patterns. For example, Vernon’s product life cycle concept suggests that successful products go through the phases of introduction, growth, maturity and decline. With the exception of Hamilton’s Wealth Dynamics concept (and later on my own concept TIPS), I came across no other profiling method that entertained the idea that certain personality profiles are more suited to lead an organization through different phases of the life cycle of a venture or a product.

    How does TIPS conceptually cure these perceived ills?

    Let’s go through the eight problematic areas identified above one by one, and allow me to explain how TIPS aims to improve on the perceived shortcomings of other profiling methods.

    1. Elegant, enhanced design architecture:
      TIPS uses an elegant multi-layered design architecture that employs five theoretical constructs: the four TIPS styles (to think, work, interact and live) and the TIPS bases (Theories, Ideas, People, Systems). Together, they feed the TIPS questionnaire and span the TIPS profiling map.
    2. Trinary construct design:
      TIPS uses a trinary interpretation of the cognitive styles, meaning you prefer either this style expression or the other, or equally enjoy drawing on both. For example, in my interaction style, I prefer to communicate and make a case using both fact and feeling (and not just one of these style expressions).
    3. Own neutral profile type for close cases:
      TIPS assigns a neutral profile, the All-Rounder, to balanced profiling results where the test scores for three or even all four dimensions are near-identical. So we avoid the problem to “lock someone into a potentially wrong profile box” because of a tiny score difference.
    4. Adequate number of profiling questions:
      With 60 profiling questions, TIPS aims for the middle ground between high accuracy and complexity on one hand and time-effectiveness and simplicity on the other. As we gather more data over time, we aim to reduce the number of profiling questions to 50 or even 40 without losing accuracy (with the help of certain statistical procedures such as factor analysis).
    5. Handy number of profiles:
      TIPS proposes 10+1 profile types. So if you can recall the eleven players of a football (or soccer) team, you’ll also will be able to recall all the TIPS profiles. (By the way, the 11th “special” profile is that of the All-Rounder, see above).
    6. Business-oriented profile names:
      TIPS uses business-related role names to capture the essence of its 10+1 profile types (all labeled with business-related role names). Do you get a rough idea what a person is all about if you hear she is either a Theorist, Ideator, Partner, Systematizer, Conceptualizer, Promoter, Organizer, Technocrat or All-Rounder?
    7. Lots of applications to business and innovation:
      I created TIPS with the intent to help companies to better deal with the people side of innovation. As such, TIPS can give answer to questions such as:
      • What’s my style to innovate?
      • How can I best contribute to the innovation-efforts of a firm in line with my natural talents and preferred styles?
      • Should I rather lead or create innovation at the front, or manage and administer from behind?
      • At what process stages of an innovation project can I add most value with my cognitive styles?
      • What innovation types are closest to my natural interests?
      • What is my typical response to creative change in our organization?
      • What is my potential to be developed into a creative leader for the innovation economy?
      • Who are the profile types who make game-changing innovations happen?
        In addition, TIPS also offers a wide range of business applications, such as:
      • How to hire the most suitable candidate for a position?
      • How to better align the members of a work team to produce better results and higher work satisfaction?
      • How to use my talent in the most conducive work ecosystem?
      • How to manage people in line with their cognitive style?
      • How to understand and mitigate conflict at work?
    8. Reflection of the dynamic, cyclical nature of business:
      Theoretically grounded in constructs from social science and evolutionary economics, the theoretical construct of the TIPS bases allows TIPS to describe how the different TIPS profiles influence performance as a product or a venture moves through the business cycle. The TIPS bases connect two concepts from evolutionary economics, Kontratiev’s long waves and Schumpeter’s concept of creative destruction, which can explain how technological and social change gradually unfolds over longer periods of time.

    Conclusion

    Methods to profile people’s personality and cognitive styles potentially have a wide range of applications in business and innovation. They can be useful for individuals and organizations alike, provided they:

    • paint an accurate picture of the preferred cognitive style and psychological make-up of a person (Who am I? Who are they?), and then 
    • transfer these novel insights into meaningful action recommendations (So what? How to turn this heightened awareness of self and others into tangible results and meaningful contributions? How to make better use of a person’s unique talents and styles?).

    Do you want to learn more about TIPS? Would you like find out more about our TIPS training for your organization? Or would you like to take the TIPS profiling test yourself? Contact us and let us know more how we may help you. 

    © Dr. Detlef Reis 2018

  • How to Scrutinize Popular Cognitive Profiling Methods (Part 1)

    What if you were hired by a mature corporation as their new innovation manager. One of your first tasks is to find all the creative talents within the organization. What will you do? Will you walk around and observe how people dress and behave at work to pinpoint the creative types? Or interview everyone? Whatever you do, chances are that while you surely can expect having some hits, you’re likely to also have a lot of misses — and a lot of “false positives”. So what else can you do? Here cognitive profiling tools can come to your aid and rescue — provided you pick the right one. 

    What are cognitive profiling methods?

    Cognitive profiling methods and —in a wider sense— personality-profiling instruments use well-structured questionnaires to determine the preferred cognitive styles of people. Ideally, the questions asked in the survey relate to certain psychological dimensions or cognitive styles that form the theoretical underpinning of a particular method. As such, these tests aim to capture differences in people’s personal preferences in areas such as cognition, behavior at work, communication and creative problem-solving, and innovation, among others.

    Typically, respondents self-assess their preferred ways with regards to the set of questions (known as personal assessment). In behavioral personality tests, however, other people report on the observed behavior of an evaluatee; in professional settings, this is often done as a “360 degree evaluation” involving a mix of superiors, subordinates, and professional peers.

    Based on the chosen answers, the evaluatee is then assigned a profiling score and/or a personality profile that describes their psychological preferences or preferred cognitive styles.

    Why are personality test and cognitive profiling methods useful?

    Critics belittle personal assessment tools by saying that they are pseudoscientific and no better than reading horoscopes. In contrast, proponents (and I am one of them) see value in using these methods to ensure a better alignment of people to environments that allow them to play on their natural talents.

    Personality tests and cognitive profiling tools give the respondents greater self-awareness on their preferred ways and cognitive styles, and on their natural talent as well as likely strengths and weaknesses related to a particular profile or profiling result. 

    These tests also give people- and team-awareness to managers and colleagues who work together in a team, so that they not only know what makes themselves tick, but also what makes everyone else in a work team tick.

    To harness such higher self- and people-awareness, some methods propose specific applications for improving business performance, such as a more focused career planning, talent development, effective team-building, and the like.

    An overview of existing cognitive style profiling concepts

    Nowadays, you can easily google the keywords “personality test” or “cognitive profiling” to find a myriad of different personality or cognitive profiling tools, each of which has its merit in one way or another. So, which cognitive profiling method may work for you? Well, it all depends on what you want to find out and want to use the method for. So, to get started, let me introduce a few profiling concepts to you that are either highly popular or which caught my interest while I was investigating different methods for their suitability to explain and support the people-side of creativity and innovation: 

    • Arguably the most widely used psychometric instrument is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). MBTI goes back on the work of the Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung, who introduced three dimensions to capture differences in personal style: Extraversion (E) vs. Introversion (I); iNutuition (N) vs Sensing (S); and Thinking (T) vs. Feeling (F). Later on, Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers augmented the Jungian preferences by a fourth dimension (Judging (J) vs. Perceiving (P)) and developed the MBTI typology of sixteen personality types. After taking a questionnaire, test subjects are assigned their profile type based on the letter combination of the highest score for each preferences (e.g. I come out as an ENTP). 
    • In his Keirsey Temperament Sorter (KTS), David Keirsey expanded the MBTI concept by introducing a new hierarchy of the MBTI dimensions and by grouping the types according to Plato’s four classic temperaments (e.g., guardian, artisan, idealist, rational). In addition, Keirsey suggested useful descriptive names for each of the MBTI types (e.g., the inventor in the case of the ENTP). 
    • Developed by the psychologist Ned Herrmann, the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI) is yet another well-liked concept to measure and describe thinking preferences in people. HBDI is based on a two-dimensional model grounded in theories on the development of the human brain. It distinguishes four brain modes (a cerebral vs. limbic mode and a left vs. right mode), and measures four related cognitive styles (A. analytical; B. practical; C. emotional; and D. experimental). The scores of an individual’s test result are presented within the context of a profiling map that shows which of the four styles is predominantly used by a test subject.
    • A related concept that leans on Herrmann’s model is the M.I.N.D. Design concept (M.I.N.D.) by Robert Alan Black. Like HBDI, Black distinguishes four styles that also christen the concept (M – Meditative; I – Intuitive; N – Negotiative; D – Directive), and uses the test results to indicate the extent to which a test subject draws upon each of the four styles. However, unlike the 120 profiling questions of HBDI, Black uses only nine questions to arrive at a largely accurate test result and descriptive report. 
    • An important profiling tool to captures style differences in creative problem-solving and innovation is Michael Kirton’s Adaption-Innovation Inventory (KAI). KAI captures on a one-dimensional scale the degree to which someone prefers to think and work as an adapter (who likes improving on existing concepts) or an innovator (who enjoys coming up with new solutions). 
    • Roger Hamilton’s Wealth Dynamics (WD) concept also draws upon some constructs from Carl Jung’s work on personality style, but merges them with elements of the classic Chinese I Ching concept. WD uses four variables (dynamo, blaze, tempo, steel) to assign test subjects one of eight profiles (e.g., creator, star, supporter, deal-maker, among others). What is special about the WD concept is that Hamilton describes how certain profile types are better suited to lead a company at different points of time as the venture evolves and moves through the company life cycle. 
    • One more profiling concept that works with only two Jungian dimensions (extraversion vs. introversion and thinking vs. feeling) is Insights Discovery. Created by a father and son team (Andi and Andy Lothian), the concept turns a 2×2-matrix into four color types (fiery red, sunshine yellow, earth green, cool blue) and then arrives at eight colored profile types with business-related names (e.g. director, motivator, inspirer). 
    • Another well-known profiling instrument is the DISC behaviour assessment tool. Grounded in Marston’s DISC theory, this tool measures the prevalence of four different behavioural traits (dominance, influence, steadiness, and compliance) in a person. In its original version, it assigns a person one of 15 profile patterns (named achiever, investigator, developer, among others) based on the test results. 
    • Other cognitive profiling tools that you may come across include Miller’s Innovation Styles concept, Lafferty’s Life Styles Inventory (LSI), the Big Five personality traits (also known as the Five Factor Model), or the Enneagram.

    Yet other popular profiling tests don’t target personality or cognitive style, but emphasize other aspects that may also give useful hints. For example, Don Clifton’s Strengthfinder test determines the top 5 strengths of a person (from an overall set of 34 talent themes). For example, my top 5 talents when I did the test in 2008 were “intellection, ideation, input, learner, competition’.

    So which cognitive profiling tool should you use?

    My advice is to test every new profiling tool you come across and find appealing to possibly learn new nuances about yourself. You will notice that some tools really “click” with you and offer valuable new insights, while others may be well-reputed but don’t resonate with you. Never mind, that’s part of learning more about yourself.

    In any case, the more tools you use, the more you notice that certain personality traits and cognitive styles seem to overlap across various tests, thus pointing to a particular direction where your unique personality and related cognitive styles and talents reside. And the more tests you do, the more you also come across some surprising new factors that make you one-of-a-kind. It’s just like collecting more and more jigsaw pieces of nuances of your personality, and once you find the right missing piece, you suddenly see a wonderful wholesome picture of who you really are. 

    But coming back to our introductory scenario: What cognitive profiling tool can help you as a supposedly newly appointed Innovation Manager to reliably identify those creative types in your organization who genuinely are drivers and agents of innovation and organization change? And what tool can give you hints on how you can make everyone contribute to innovation in line with their preferred styles and natural talents? 

    For almost a decade, I hunted for such a cognitive profiling tool to lighten up the people-side of innovation, testing method after method with always the same result: Most methods had certain aspects that I really liked and found valuable and accurate, but also had some “bugs” or delivery gaps that I perceived to be sub-optimal, missing or plain “wrong”. And while thinking about how to improve on these perceived shortcomings, I suddenly had created my own profiling concept: TIPS, Thinkergy’s innovation people profiling system.

    I created TIPS with the intent to give individuals and organizations clear insights on how everyone can contribute to corporate innovation by using the preferred styles of each profile type. The TIPS innovation people-profiling method draws inspirations from theoretical constructs of a range of earlier cognitive profiling concepts listed above, but also includes new concepts adapted from other disciplines (e.g. evolutionary economics and social science).

    Interim conclusion and outlook

    While testing a great variety of different cognitive profiling tools and online personality tests, I’ve learned how to scrutinize the underlying conceptual constructs and design architecture of such methods. What conceptual features do almost all of these methods have in common? What shortcomings did I notice in many of the tools that I tested? And how does TIPS aim to cure these perceived ills? In two weeks, you’ll get the answers to these questions in a sequel to this article. 

    Do you want to learn more about TIPS? Would you like find out more about our TIPS training for your organization? Or would you like to take the TIPS profiling test yourself? Contact us and let us know more how we may help you. 

    © Dr. Detlef Reis 2018

  • Mastering Digital Transformation- Part 2

    Two weeks ago, we discussed how a range of newly emerging, interconnected digital technologies (such as artificial intelligence, big data and the Internet of Things, among others) are predicted to profoundly change business and society. We explored how new technologies pass through different phases of the hype cycle before eventually producing meaningful, marketable applications. In Part 2 of this three episode article, let’s next discuss what challenges digital transformation places on both established and new businesses, and then explore what strategies established firms may employ to successfully master digital transformation.

    What challenges does digital transformation pose on established businesses and start-ups?

    Interestingly: the challenges that digital transformation poses for established firms are the flip-side of those that start-up ventures face. In his classic book “The Innovator’s Dilemma”, Clayton Christensen provides some insights and conceptual model that may help me drive home this point:

    • Christensen distinguishes innovations into two types — sustainable and disruptive ones. Sustainable innovations focus on new ways to grow existing technologies by enhancing their performance, typically through extended functionality or increased capacity. On the other hand, disruptive innovations solve a challenge in an entirely new way or for an entirely new group of people, thus changing the landscape of a whole industry or even sparking a new one altogether.
    • Christensen also introduces a new theoretical framework, the Resources, Processes, Values Model.The RPV model captures how established organizations differ from start-ups in the ways they utilize resources (things and assets which firms can buy, sell, create or destroy), processes (established ways to transform resources into products or services) and values (prioritization criteria for making decisions). Established firms have plentiful resources and well-honed processes, but tend to be too internally-focused, bureaucratic and set in their values. In contrast, start-up ventures are strongly market- and customer-focused, thus allowing them to recognize new business opportunities early while —at least initially— having to deal with scarce resources and less efficient processes. 
    • Christensen highlights that established firms excel at creating sustainable innovations that build on or extend established product and services categories. However, they tend to fall short on coming up with disruptive innovations for three reasons: (1) They heavily invested into the development of resources (their legacy products, services, technologies and systems), and tend to escalate their earlier financial commitments. Moreover, developing new “risky” products and service areas (question mark) may also cannibalize sales of their current stars and cash cows. (2) They are loyal to their established ways of doing things and highly efficient processes. (3) They tend to undervalue the impact and future revenue potential of emerging new technologies and business opportunities at the fringes of their industry.
    • Christensen highlights that established firms excel at creating sustainable innovations that build on or extend established product and services categories. However, they tend to fall short on coming up with disruptive innovations for three reasons: (1) They heavily invested into the development of resources (their legacy products, services, technologies and systems), and tend to escalate their earlier financial commitments. Moreover, developing new “risky” products and service areas (question mark) may also cannibalize sales of their current stars and cash cows. (2) They are loyal to their established ways of doing things and highly efficient processes. (3) They tend to undervalue the impact and future revenue potential of emerging new technologies and business opportunities at the fringes of their industry. On the other side, most start-up ventures focus on —and excel at— producing disruptive innovations. This is because they not only recognize emerging new technologies and business opportunities (which some incumbents do, too), but also use a trial and error approach to uncover promising niches (with regards to customers and/or product applications) and then offer an adequate or even better product at a lower price.
    • The “innovator’s dilemma” describes the situation when an incumbent that originally pioneered or dominated the market would have to cannibalize its own business to successfully compete with a new, disruptive competitor.

    What has all of this to do with digital transformation? Most digital technologies are disruptive in nature, meaning they are simpler, more convenient, more reliable and cheaper than  established technologies. In established firms, commitment to their legacy resources, processes and values makes it unlikely that they can internally rise to the challenges (threats and opportunities) posed by digital transformation and its disruptive innovations. In contrast, start-up ventures have the right values to drive digital transformation and, provided they smartly use and gradually grow their limited resources base and creatively approach the process side of their business.

    What are strategies for established firms to master digital transformation?

    Among others, incumbents may embrace one or more of the following five strategies to build up digital initiatives and know-how that they can fund with their established business operations:

    1. Acquire external digital know-how (fully or partially).  An established corporation can easily add digital products and expertise to its business by acquiring a successful venture with a digital technology or application in a niche that is relevant to its industry. For example, in 2016,  the multinational toymaker Mattel acquired the  San Francisco-based baby health wearable maker Sproutling. Alternatively to a full takeover, an established firm may also acquire stakes in promising digital start-up ventures to participate in their developments. For example, in March 2018, Allianz and Tencent announced investing $160 million for an undisclosed stake in the German mobile phone banking start-up N26.
    2. Spin-out digital initiatives into a new venture. Suppose you’re an established firm pursuing internal R&D initiatives and come up with a worthwhile development project that doesn’t fit to your processes. In this case,  Clayton  Christensen recommends  to spinout the initiative into a separate venture; and to commit some of your most qualified managers and developers to lead it. The spin-out can be run like a lean start-up and may even seek additional external funding from other investors. Spin-out strategies have been not uncommon in certain industries (such as pharmaceuticals or biotechnology) as well as at tech-driven universities. Moreover, digital tech ventures also use it to better market promising new applications that they added later to their initial core offering. For example, in 2014, Fog Creek Software spun out its web-based project management application Trello into a separate company. Going forward, such spin-outs promise to also become a feasible strategy to commercialize new digital projects emerging in mature established corporations. 
    3. Run focused innovation projects, then use “scrum” teams for implementation. Another strategy to gradually add more digital products and services to your established firm is to run a series of focused innovation projects targeting digital value creation. Thereby, one or more project teams go through an innovation project (ideally facilitated by a professional innovation firm such as Thinkergy using a sophisticated and effective innovation process method like X-IDEA) to come up with a series of meaningful digital concepts. Then, build scrum teams to quickly implement the top concepts. Each scrum team consists of a number of skilled developers coordinated by a scrum master (with extensive technical expertise) and is led by a project owner (with business expertise), both of who coordinate with the internal project sponsor and other stakeholders inside and outside the organization.
    4. Transform into a creative company. The most challenging —but in the long run also most promising— strategy is to transform the culture of an established corporation into a creative organization. Gradually building up an innovation-friendly firm requires takes at least three years of gradual change steps and requires the dedicated commitment of the top executive team (see how we suggest executing such a CooL change). For example, in 2005, Jeffrey Immelt successfully launched a creative change initiative based on an “Ecoimagination” theme to transform General Electrics from a sales-driven to an innovation-focused organization.
    5. Identify the right people for your digital transformation. Making your business more digital requires you to take action on the people side, too. On the one hand, companies should heavily involve their “digital natives” (i.e., younger staff belonging to Gen Y and Gen Z) in digital project initiatives. On the other hand, innovation-centered cognitive profiling tools such as Thinkergy’s TIPS can help companies to identify those profiles who have a natural talent and passion for driving digital change into the organization. 

    Interim summary and outlook: Established corporations and start-ups face opposite challenges from digitalization: The former have ample resources and sound processes while lacking entrepreneurial values that allow them to recognize digital opportunities, while  the opposite is true for start-up ventures. Established firms may use at least five strategies to better master digital transformation. But what are game plans for start-ups to seize their ability to recognize worthy digital opportunities in spite of scarcer resources and less refined processes? Find out in two weeks in the third and final episode of this article on digital transformation.

    © Dr. Detlef Reis 2018.


  • How to improve teamwork with TIPS

    In less than three months, the FIFA World Cup in Russia will kick off. Chances are that after the final, not the national squad with the most glamorous star, but the one with the best team will lift World Cup. What’s true in football is true in business, too: great teamwork matters. Today, let’s look at the art of composing and developing an effective team in business with the help of TIPS, Thinkergy’s innovation people profiling method.

    Introducing TIPS

    TIPS is a new cognitive profiling method that I’ve created for Thinkergy. The acronym TIPS stands for four base orientations (theories, ideas, people, systems) that drive people’s behavior in life and at work. With the help of a questionnaire that probes for these four bases and for four related cognitive styles, we profile people into one of 11 innovator profiles (Theorist, Ideator, Partner, Systematizer, Conceptualizer, Promoter, Organizer, Technocrat, Coach, Experimenter and All-Rounder).


    Each TIPS profile has certain natural talents and preferred styles that allow them to perform easily, effortlessly and enjoyably in certain ecosystems (industries, business functions, and organizational types). It’s similar to a position on the pitch in a football game, where certain players are born strikers, or central defenders, or goalkeepers. As in football, the challenge is to use everyone in a team to their best abilities and in ways that make the team effective — and once you know everyone’s TIPS profile, you can follow certain rules on how to best use each player and compose effective work teams.

    How to strengthen teamwork in an organization with TIPS?

    Teamwork is the combined action of a group of people, especially when effective or efficient. But how can we select the right players to make a business team effective and successful? And how can we develop the team as the business evolves? Here are eight recommendations on how to make everyone contribute to business success and align the players for effective and successful teamwork:

    1. Make everyone play in their natural position. Imagine you were a football coach and are lucky enough to have a world-class striker in your team. Where on the pitch would you position your star player? Would you play him in central defense so that he may work on his weaknesses? Or would you rather play him in offense where he has lots of opportunities to let his talent and natural strengths shine?

    Many companies and managers ask their staff to work on improving their weaknesses. I believe in the opposite strategy: Make everyone do those things that are naturally easy, effortless, enjoyable (remember the three Es) for them.

    For example, Ideators like myself like to drive change and create something new out of nothing. Promoters enjoy spreading the word and creating a buzz for a new idea, brand, or trend. Partners know all about their customers’ wants and needs because they deeply care for people.


    2. Use other profiles to fill in for your weaknesses.

    If everyone plays on their strengths, who takes care of those weaknesses that each of us has? The profile at the opposite end of your profile on the TIPS profiling map. 
For example, when working on an innovation case, Theorists enjoy rationally scrutinizing the evidence in a case, but tend to overlook taking into account the human factor. Positioned on the diagonal opposite end of the profile map, Partners have the most intimate customer knowledge and ensure that an innovation team considers the human factor is considered, too.

    3. Make the team composition fit its function. Depending on the main function that a business team performs, certain profiles tend to dominate and are more commonly found than others.

    For example, in an accounting department, most team members are likely to be Technocrats. In contrast, Partners and Promoters tend to prominently feature in a sales team. 
Similarly, certain profiles also tend to predominate certain industries. For example, when we look at different industries, the profile that is most common in a strategy consulting company is the Conceptualizers, while managers in retail companies are often Organizers.


    4. Balance a team with complementary profiles. Because certain profiles tend to dominate in a particular business function or industry, it is important to counterbalance the team with other profiles that support the majority and cover their weaknesses.

    For example, every sales team should have at least one Technocrat or Systematizer who makes sure that call reports are written, entries are accurately entered into an order system, and sales numbers are tracked and regularly discussed in a weekly sales pipeline meeting. Or to a consultant team full of big picture Conceptualizers on the road from client to client, add an Organizer to make sure that schedules are coordinated and kept, travel arrangements are booked and changed, and time sheets and expenditure sheets are filed in a timely way.

    5. Bridge gaps between opposites. In football, the midfielders act as connectors between defenders and strikers. In business, you may likewise use neighboring profiles to bridge a divide between teams that are operating on opposite frequencies.

    For example, many new innovation projects or marketing initiatives (driven by Ideators or Promoters) in banking nowadays get vetoed by officers in the compliance team (who are often Systematizers). Here, a Partner may act as ambassador to moderate the conflict between the sides by finding the lowest common denominator between the interest of the business side (bring in new revenues through innovation and new client acquisition) and compliance (mitigate legal risks, ensure compliance to regulatory requirements such as KYC (know your customer)).

    6. Balance complementing energies in a start-up venture. Most successful start-ups have a leadership team that balances three or even four different energies.

    For example, an ideal team for a tech start-up may comprise an inspiring Promoter as a CEO, a hands-on Organizer as a COO, a number-crunching Technocrat as a CFO, and a geeky Conceptualizer as a CTO. If the venture consists of a leadership triangle, a good combination may be an Ideator as CEO, a partner as Head of Sales, and a Systematizer as COO/CFO.


    7. Change the captain as your business moves into a new cycle phase. A venture moves through different corporate life cycle stages: first, creating a new product; launching and promoting the product; growing sales and customer relations; organizing the back-office to accommodate strong growth; creating stable systems and processes to consolidate the business; leveraging a business through modifications to product niches and adaptations to local markets; and finally, starting a new cycle through a new major product creation initiative.

    If you want to move to the next cycle phases, strengthen the profile that naturally drives this phase: Ideators in product creation, Promoters in launch, Partners for sales activities, Organizers to solidify the back-office, Systematizers to set-up efficient processes and systems, and Experimenters to twist and modify products.

    An alternative approach related to the quadrangular leadership team mentioned in the previous point, first have the CTO drive product development, then let the CEO lead the market introduction phase, then put the COO in charge to set-up the back office organization, and finally let the CFO drive the IPO and set-up of formal systems.


    8. Use All-Rounders to flexibly close gaps in the team. In almost every sports team, you find a few players that can play multiple positions in both offense and defense. While they might not be as good as the specialists, they do reliably well wherever you put them on the pitch.

    In TIPS, we call such players with a balanced set of skills and cognitive styles All-Rounders. Every business, and here in particular start-ups, do well of having one or a few All-Rounders in their team, as they feel home in any type of role and can easily fill gaps if your business grows rapidly or you face a period of staff turnover.

    Conclusion: “No individual can win a game by himself,” noted Pelé, the legendary Brazilian football star, three-time World Cup winner and world record holding scorer with 1,281 career goals. Often, the national team with the best teamwork wins the tournament, not the ones with one super star who everyone else follows. The famed US basketball player Michael Jordan put it this way: “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.” Composing an effective team in business is like forming a tournament-winning team in sport — and thanks to TIPS, it’s easy to create effective, focused and balanced teams for every function, industry and project in business.


    Have you become curious to find out more about your TIPS innovator profile? Or would you like to learn how to improve teamwork in your business in a TIPS Innovation Profiling Workshop?  Contact us to learn more about our innovation training courses and find out how you may purchase a coupon for our TIPS online personality test.