The Keys to Hiring Effective Innovators
1. Intellectually Restless:
Great innovators get a thrill out of defining a bold vision and then wrestling with the data, insights, barriers, and opportunities to unlock what needs to be true to get there.
2. Inspiring Rather Than Convincing:
Applicants who come from traditional consulting are often proficient at framing opportunities, yet unaccustomed to creating outcomes. We want people who can do both. Those who recognize that innovation, by its very nature, is at odds with certainty. Breakthroughs can’t be proven. They need to be envisioned and driven.
3. Proven Ability to Drive Innovation:
There’s a big difference between recognizing a great innovation and understanding how to create a great innovation. Unlike financial markets, past performance in innovation is, more often than not, an indicator of future performance.
4. Have Scaled a Peak:
We look for greatness in some aspect of an applicant’s life: successful entrepreneur, published writer, Ivy League graduate, Division I athlete, etc. The metric of success is less important than the success itself. We want people who are comfortable defining a high-order goal and then doing what it takes to accomplish it.
5. Willing to Commit to Something Bigger Than Themselves:
This is important on two levels. At a firm level, we want people who are excited by the belief that we’re on a mission to create a fundamentally new type of business. On a personal level, we want talent who believes in something that doesn’t exist today. This type of belief is the core of innovation. Therefore, we look for candidates who’ve already demonstrated their commitment to a higher-order ambition. It can be sports, religion, a philosophy, or a charity. The object of devotion is much less important than the proven willingness to invest passionately with a group of people to realize a dream.
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