Five skills that define innovation

Thanks to Mark Tutton, CNN technology columnist for writing this week about how anyone can learn the Five Secrets of Innovation.

Studies conclude that innovation is not an inherent trait, uncovering good ideas is a set of skills that anyone can learn. By looking for new ideas and as they relate to the world around you, anyone can come up new resolutions to old problems.

Researchers say they have identified five skills that drive innovation: 

1. Questioning: Innovators constantly ask questions that challenge the common wisdom. They ask "why?", "why not?" and "what if?"

Questioning is a key factor in thinking outside of the box which defines the very profession of inventing. Albert Einstein once said, "To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science."

2. Observing: Discovery-driven executives scrutinize common phenomena, particularly the behavior of potential customers.

Observing market shifts, the consumer’s attitude, and the client’s needs are building blocks to achieving success.

3. Experimenting: Innovative entrepreneurs actively try out new ideas by creating prototypes and launching pilots.

Experimenting is just a fancy way of saying learning. Inventing is not about succeeding with every prototype, it’s about moving forward and learning with each failure.

4. Networking:
innovators go out of their way to meet people with different ideas and perspectives.

Networking will achieve connections along with perspectives. Learning your peers ideas and standpoints will help mold and sophisticate yours. Mark Ventresca, a professor at Oxford, told CNN "Data says that people who have more varied connections hear more diverse information, and see patterns before other people."

5. Associating: The ability to connect seemingly unrelated questions, problems or ideas from different fields. 

Associate ideas by utilizing all of your knowledge and experience gained from the previous secrets you can more easily make connections and problem solve.