WATCH: Innovation Requires Two Key Traits – Do You Have Both?

In this episode, I’d like to talk about ‘The Paradox of Focused Innovation’. And this is one of the 12 behavioural paradoxes developed by Dr. Dan Harrison. Now, if we take a paradox as being two statements which seem to be contradictory but are in fact both true. We can look at a behavioural paradox as being two behaviours, which seem to be contradictory and yet when they come together form something synergistic.


So, in ‘The Paradox of Focused Innovation’, we’ve got the trait of ‘Persistence’ which is the tendency to be tenacious despite encountering significant obstacles.


And the traits of ‘Experimenting’ which is the tendency to try new things and the enjoyment of trying new things.  And, new ideas, exploring new ways of doing things.

Stubborn Persistence

Now, if we’re very high on ‘Persistence’, but low on ‘Experimenting’, we’re out of balance, and we can fall into the ‘Stubborn Persistence’ quadrant. And this means, that while we may be focused at persevering on completing a particular task.  We may actually persist even when the approach that we’re using isn’t really working or getting us the results, we want. And, while we can be focused and be good at focusing on a particular task.


We may in fact lose sight or lose track of other priorities, because we’re just narrowly focused, and stubbornly focused on just one thing.  So, if we’re very high on ‘Experimenting’ on the other hand but low on ‘Persistence’. We may fall into the ‘Non-Finishing ‘quadrant. And that happens when we find ourselves being excited and considering lots of different ideas. But, not actually seeing them through because we don’t have the ‘Persistence’ to see them through. And it may be that we’re good at considering lots of options, but actually change direction too soon, prematurely, so we don’t actually complete the task through a lack of persistence.


 So, what we want is both ‘Experimenting’ and ‘Persistence’ coming together. And, forming that ‘Innovative’ quadrant that ability to be ‘Innovative’ while staying focused on your mission and your purpose. That ability to be able to consider lots of different ideas and implement them. Now, this inspires creativity in others, and also helps to resolve those unsolvable problems. Those really intractable problems because you’ve got the ‘Persistence’, and the new ideas to see things through.

So, when it comes to your team and where your team may be at, Stay curious! 

With best regards,

David Klaasen

Talent4Performance help business leaders clarify complexity. We inspire people and drive continuous performance improvement, so they can convert thinking into action and results.

©David Klaasen – 2022