The 5 characteristics that bring ideas to life

Frankie Kemp

11 February 2023

Scrolling through social media lately, you’d would think ChatGPT is the answer to creativity.

All you have to do us stick a couple of words in a text box, and you’ll have a barrel of ideas to roll into implementation.

It has its limits though.

That’s where humans come in. But are we letting enough of the *right* ones in for innovation ?

Based on a 2020 study between Genius You and Sheffield University of 2000 respondents across 10 sectors, one of the main obstacles to creativity in the corporate world is that hiring is often skewed towards those with strong analytical and commercial skills.

Although these are undoubtedly necessary to qualities, the ability to be explorative and experimental is being overlooked.

Genius You have defined the 5 necessary ingredients of innovation – from ideation to implementation so that you can get the right mix of people to bring ideas alive.


The 5 approaches needed for ideation to implementation


1. THE EXPLORER – inspired by all around and always generating ideas.

Example approach:

Mind mapping to encourage associative thinking.

In Practice:

a) James Dyson, whose vacuum cleaners pioneered cyclone technology, was inspired after spotting a sawmill, noticing how it separated sawdust particles from the air.

b) In designing a building for a competition, a group of architects asked the question: “If I were the building, how would I want to be used?”  Changing the perspective of their answer allowed for ideas to flow.


2. THE DETECTIVE – spots patterns and themes and can make connections with ideas and concepts. Great at linking an idea with opportunity.

Example approach:

1. Decide what pattern you’re actually looking for, such as:

a) repetition of behaviours or responses?
b) periods of time between action?

2. Look at data such as survey responses.

3. Speak to people or observe them as is often conducted in software user labs.

In Practice:

The clothing retailer, Zara, makes and ships different stock depending on store location. The company relies on its store managers to observe what shoppers are buying and wearing as well as asking them questions about their preferences.


3.  THE JUDGE – picks the strongest option. Discerns the workable from unworkable using a mix of evidence based rationale and gut feeling. Asks “What if?”.  Needs to examine why something wouldn’t work to select the strongest option.

Example approach:

Dot voting of ideas in inter-disciplinary groups

In Practice:

This individual will be someone who understands political and operational frameworks in which the idea will sit.


4. THE CONDUCTOR – facilitates the creative process. Brings in people and collates ideas.

Example approach:

In Conductor mode, an individual uses their network to source ideas and people they can bring into the frame.

In practice:

a) Phillip Morris International who’ve made their billions from cigarettes have been using software, QMarkets, to crowdsource ideas for smoke-free alternatives from employees, who I presume, won’t be turning to Nicorettes ?

b) In Samsung, there’s a corporate group charged with scouting for ideas and partners. Such partnerships may include those in science, technology or business.


5. THE ARCHITECT – makes the abstract into the concrete and tangible. Clarifies the features and benefits asking “How exactly?” Good at putting together the pieces of an idea and then being able to communicate it to others to support the idea.

The Architect takes a product, service or idea and brings it to life.

They’d be able to see how this innovation can be brought into being.

Example approach:

They would be asking:

a) What…
the idea looks like, what it does, the features and benefits are, etc
b) Why…
it exists
c) When…
it can be launched, it’s to be used
d) Where…
it will be used, marketed, financed
e) How…
it will be used

In answering these questions, the Architect will be conversing with those from other disciplines to consolidate the idea.

In Practice:

An exercise to help: Design the Box


Do you need five of people representing each type in a team?

No. Within each of us, there’s a combination of all of these qualities, with one or two dominating.

Maybe you’re excellent at coming up with novel ideas [Explorer] and can bring others around a table to breathe life into them [Conductor].

Perhaps your talent is the ability to not only deduce what is more feasible [Judge] but also to flesh an idea out and communicate it to others [Architect].

Ensure you’re working to your preferences in order to be more effective.


Your Action

Answer these questions:

1. In which of the 5 areas do you prefer to function?
2. Are you doing enough of that to satisfy you or your projects?
3. Who do you need to call upon, if anyone, to balance out the situation. For example, do you need a well-connected Conductor or a decisive Judge?

Want to become a Communication Ninja but you’re not sure how?  I have self-paced online courses; group and private 121 sessions.  Look here to see how I can work with you or your teams.
Don’t miss out!


“Frankie brings energy and creativity into the room. Her approach helps to develop soft skills in teams while having fun.”

Dave Martin, Product Coach Right to Left



Photo courtesy of Gratisography

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