In the 1970's British Industrial and Occupational Psychologist, Dr Michael Kirton
started to explore how people preferred to solve problems. He observed the styles people used could be placed on a spectrum:
At one end he noted people gravitate to novel, radical, spontaneous activities. When you observe these people they come across as: adventurous, desirous of ambiguity, plain-speaking, experimental, pioneering, blue-sky thinkers, and boundary-pushers. Kirton called these people creative innovators
. Examples include Nikolai Tesla, Elon Musk and Steve Jobs.
At the other end of the problem-solving style spectrum, Kirton noted some people prefer routine, control, the tried-and-tested, managed risk, and clarity. When you observe them they come across as: structured, reliable, efficient, systematic, good with detail, thorough and seeking consensus with others. Kirton called these people, creative adaptors
. Examples include Thomas Edison, Marie Curie, Jeff Bezos and Tim Cook.
History is littered with pairs of adaptors and innovators who collaborated together with great success. In fact, Kirton observed that "behind every successful innovator, there's an adaptor, and behind every successful adaptor there's an innovator." Examples include, Jobs and Cook, Hindenburg and Ludendorff, Gilbert and Sullivan, McCartney and Lennon.
Kirton called those in centre of the spectrum creative bridgers
as they were able to exploit the best (and avoid the worst) of the outliers. As these three different types of problem solver follow a normal distribution curve in the population "bridgers" are the most numerous type. But businesses need all 3 types of people to be successful in a complex world full of varied and uncertain challenges.
Learn more from the short video below or find out whether you are an Innovator, Adaptor or Bridger in 15 mins or less by completing the 'KAI inventory' here
.* This will help you identify the types of tasks you'll excel at and the type of people you should choose to work as they'll compliment your skills best. *The KAI Inventory is provided by The Riot Point, an external partner of PowerMaps.