Insights Into Innovation via the Way of the Mad Scientist
Posted by Plish on August 11, 2011
While at a client’s the other day, a colleague looked at the collection of new and failed prototypes, bits and pieces of scrap, notes, Ziploc bags with components, and exclaimed, “Plishka, you’re a mad scientist, man!”
It wasn’t the first time I’ve been called that jokingly. I’ve always considered it a compliment. Yes, I know, ‘bad’ mad scientists get much more billing than ‘good’ mad scientists so people tend to think of mad scientists as primarily ‘bad’. But, since I don’t have people coming after me with torches and pitchforks, I can only surmise that I’m labelled with the moniker because I share certain traits with mad scientists in general – what we’ll call, ‘Common Mad Scientist Traits’ (CMST’s for short).
So, it got me to thinking about traits of mad scientists (good and bad), myself and about other creative people at innovative companies. A compilation of CMST’s is as follows:
- Empathy for the human condition
- Tenacious, passionate commitment to solving problems
- Will prototype/experiment before committing to the bigger project
- Customizes environment and tools to increase odds of success
- Accepts failure as a learning opportunity
- Leverages technology
- Has assistants(team) that share(s) the vision
- Finds ways to work around bureaucracy
- Authentic – true to self
Does this list jive with the “Mad Scientists” you know? How does your business empower and foster these behaviours and perspectives? Which CMST’s do you have?