7 Personal Competencies for Open Innovation Success

7 Personal Competencies for Open Innovation SuccessThe personal competencies needed for open innovation success is a topic that I really care about and thus it is a key element in my book, The Open Innovation Revolution and in many of my blog posts.

This time, I am pleased to be able to share some perspectives from Gail Martino, Open Innovation Manager at Unilever in the form of excerpts from a presentation given by Gail a few months ago.

Personally, I think it is great to see how a company such as Unilever recognizes how important soft skills are for open innovation. Gail, thanks for sharing this!

Here you get seven critical personal competencies needed for open innovation success according to Unilever.

Intrepreneurial Skills:
— see opportunities and drive an opportunity forward with and within an organization…sometimes before the organization knows they need it.

Key Traits/Behaviors:

  • Is aware of and enables new ideas – from anywhere
  • At ease outside their “comfort zone”
  • Non complacent – boundary pusher
  • Self-driven; Risk taker
  • Not afraid to fail

Talent for Relationship Building:
— within and outside the organization.

Key Traits/Behaviors:

  • Is Genuine – Builds trust
  • Represents the partner well to the organization
  • Listener – Key for building Win-Win deals

Strategic Influencing:
— to persuade, inspire and garner support.

Key Traits/Behaviors:

  • Politically astute, high organizational awareness
  • Knows when, how and with whom to gain support
  • Top notch communication skills

Quick Study:
— self-driven to become up to speed in new areas (critical skill to help showcase and gain support of others).

Key Traits/Behaviors:

  • Ability to develop expertise, sometimes outside of their area of expertise quickly
  • Curious
  • Resourceful

Tolerance for Uncertainty:
— able to manage high risk projects and make decisions without perfect information about outcome.

Key Traits/Behaviors:

  • Manages risks through milestones and keeps moving forward
  • Doesn’t plan for failure – plans to avoid it

Balanced Optimism:
— keeps above the fray.

Key Traits/Behaviors:

  • Knowledgeable about risks as well as rewards
  • Overcomes moods and emotional states to keep moving forward
  • Nonreactive; Evaluates criticism but moves on

Passion:
— energy to more forward and overcome roadblocks.

Key Traits/Behaviors:

  • Infectious energy
  • Sees opportunity, not just issues


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Stegan LindegaardStefan Lindegaard is a speaker, network facilitator and strategic advisor who focus on the topics of open innovation, intrapreneurship and how to identify and develop the people who drive innovation.

Stefan Lindegaard

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No Comments

  1. Erin Schumpert on December 14, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    Thanks for sharing this, Stefan. I agree that there are many ingredients that go into creating a successful open innovation ecosystem. Aside from getting leadership to understand the benefits of open innovation, it is important to recognize that there isn’t just one “type” of person who can be deemed as innovative. Skills such as “strategic influencing” or “tolerance for uncertainty “are critical when assessing new ideas, their compatibility with business objectives as well as project planning and execution.

    Great insight, Gail.

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