"What a great idea!"
People with Ideation in their CliftonStrengths results are fascinated by ideas. They derive great joy and excitement whenever a new idea occurs to them.
Because of their natural wiring, those with the Ideation theme often look forward to brainstorming, whether at work or in interpersonal situations. They love piecing together different ideas and forming one of their own. They also enjoy making connections between ideas to paint a new perspective for others. People with Ideation do not necessarily need to see every one of their ideas being implemented - the very process of brainstorming itself is rewarding. Just one great idea that is implemented and turned into something useful is enough to encourage them to generate more ideas.
People with Ideation dislike dull and monotonous work. Sometimes they are labelled as "all over the place" and written off as unrealistic. There might be some truth in those criticisms when people are operating out of Ideation in its infancy, but by and large, those with Ideation are often misunderstood. People with Ideation love thinking out of the box. The genius of Ideation talents is in its spontaneous creativity. People with Ideation thrive in environments that encourage innovative thinking - thinking that defies conventional methods and welcomes novel ways of doing things.
When I first started working with Jason Ho to start Strengths School™, a training and consultancy company in Singapore, I walked into a Post-Its Parade. Now I know that is Jason’s Ideation at work. A daily feature of our work is talking about different ideas. These ideas are written on huge whiteboards and colorful post-its. A simple idea can get Jason excited. I am personally still learning to let him generate and share ideas without shooting any of them down. I have discovered that brilliant ideas usually come after a few whacky and often unrealistic ideas are generated.
How can a person with Ideation turn this talent into a Strength? Here are a few suggestions:
1. SHARE IDEAS GENEROUSLY
Many with Ideation often treat their ideas as their own babies, and fear that these original ideas might be taken away. Paul Arden had this to say: “The problem with hoarding (ideas) is you end up living off your reserves. Eventually you’ll become stale. If you give away everything you have, you are left with nothing. This forces you to look, to be aware, to replenish. Give away everything you know and more will come back to you.”
While ideas that are generated are precious, one might do well to generously share them with others. Those who share ideas freely tend to think of fresh ones while those who hoard tend to live in fear that their ideas get stolen. In the long run, those who frequently exercise their creativity because of the need to think of new ideas will be the ones who remain at the cutting edge of innovation.
2. CUT PROJECTS INTO BITE-SIZED PORTIONS
People with Ideation often enjoy the start of a project where ideas are formed and things are kept fresh. When a project becomes long-drawn and work becomes more routine and predictable, people with Ideation often find their level of motivation dropping. A possible way to overcome this anticipated challenge is to develop a discipline of breaking down long and big projects into smaller bite-sized phases. In that way, many "start points" are created. This can motivate those with Ideation to continuously innovate and ideate while keeping the end goal in mind.
3. SEEK COMPLEMENTARY PARTNERSHIPS
Partner those with Harmony / Consistency / Discipline
People with Harmony, Consistency, or Discipline are those who generally thrive in environments that are stable and without rapid changes. People with Ideation enjoy thinking out of the box, trying out new ideas and keeping things fresh. Such a partnership can help create a working structure which maintains an innovative edge while balancing the need to have stability within the team.
Partner with Activators
Activators have a penchant for turning ideas, even complex or seemingly cumbersome ones, into reality. People with Ideation churn out different kinds of ideas, some more complex than others. Partnering with Activators allows a group to move from simply exploring these complex ideas to actually realizing them. A great synergy occurs in this partnership that can reap much fruit for organizations and teams, especially those needing to remain at the cutting edge of innovation.
Partner with Maximizers
Maximizers enjoy turning something from good to great. When asked the question “How can I turn this idea into something even better?” Maximizers are often able to suggest different improvements to make a good idea superb. When paired up with Maximizers, those with Ideation are often spurred on to develop their ideas even further or to brainstorm even more ideas that build on what they have originally produced.
Concluding thoughts: People with Ideation are those who love to think of new ideas and are often on the forefront of innovation. In a world of rapid changes where certain conventional approaches may quickly become irrelevant, people with Ideation contribute powerfully through their fresh perspectives and their out-of-the-box thinking. This unique talent empowers organizations and teams to stay relevant and not be left behind.