If your coworkers rated your “innovativeness” on a scale of 1-10, how would you rate?

Do your peers and leadership see you as “an operator”—someone who gets things done, or do they see you as “an innovator”—someone who is obsessed with the next big idea?

Are you described as “passionate about your ideas,” “one of the crazy ones,” “a misfit, rebel, troublemaker” or “one who sees the world differently?”

Have you ever invented anything?

Many believe that you are either born creative or not (think left-brained or right-brained). That you either think linearly or divergently (think engineer or artist). That you either have an organized daily calendar, filled to the brim, or a busy calendar with lots of white space.

As an engineer and a graduate of architecture school, I’ve had to rely on both sides of my brain; I agree that we all have a strong tendency either towards execution or innovation. BUT, to be successful in today’s world, we must all do the following:

1) Recognize our tendency or strength

2) Accept that both are equally critical and necessary, and

3) Surround ourselves with partners that provide a balance of both.

The book Innovator’s DNA describes 5 skills each of us must be constantly building—Questioning, Observing, Networking, Brainstorming and Experimenting.If you’re leading a business and you want that business to be viewed as “innovative”, what steps are you taking to get there? Consider the following “test”, again developed by Clay Christensen’s team, as a starting point on your journey.

If you’re leading a business and you want that business to be viewed as “innovative,” what steps are you taking to get there? Consider the following “test,” again developed by Clay Christensen’s team, as a starting point on your journey.

Rate your business or team 1-5 for each of the following statements, with 1=Strongly Disagree and 5= Strongly Agree. A score higher than 40 is good, and a score lower than 30 shows potential to improve.

Our organization or team has leaders with a well-known track record for generating innovative ideas for new processes, products, services or businesses.

Our organization or team actively screens for creativity and innovation skills in the hiring process.

Evaluating an employee’s creativity or innovation skills in an important part of the performance appraisal process with our organization or team.

Our organization or team frequently engages in brainstorming to generate wild or very different ideas by drawing analogies from other products, companies or industries.

Our organization or team encourages team members to ask questions that challenge the status quo or conventional ways of doing things.

Our organization or team cultivate new ideas by giving people frequent opportunities to observe the activities of customers, competitor or suppliers.

Our organization or team has instituted formal processes to network outside the company to find new ideas for processes or products.

Our organization or team has adopted processed to allow frequent experiments of new ideas in search of new innovations.

Our organization or team expects everyone to offer creative ideas for how the company should change products, processes, and so on.

People in our organization or team are not afraid to take risks and fail because top management supports and rewards risk taking.

To remain competitive and to attract and retain critical talent, we must lead high-priority efforts to keep our scores above 40….