Director, Australian National Phenome Center, Professor of Medicine, Pro-vice Chancellor for Health Sciences, Murdoch University; Emeritus Professor of Biological Chemistry, Imperial College London
Qualities of an innovative thinker? There is no single quality that leads people to be innovators, that’s why innovation is difficult to do and especially to teach. Scientific curiosity is a fundamental quality that drives an innovative thinker to explore and seek knowledge. leading to the discovery of new connections and possibilities. This usually works best in individuals with diverse educational and scientific backgrounds where a lot of unusual connections are already latent in their thought processes. Off-the-wall or non-linear thinkers usually have a renegade streak in them that leads to the rejection of traditional patterns of thought, to challenge assumptions, and explore unconventional ideas. Innovation often requires revolution and that results in opposition from traditionalists and linear thinkers. Thus, tenacity is also a crucial quality for innovators, as it enables them to continue in the face of challenges, learn from their failures, and stay focused on their goals until the rest of the world is ready to receive and understand their message. However, being too far ahead of the curve is always tough.