You’re a Collaborator!

There are 6 Innovation Archetypes, and
you are the Collaborator.

12% of all innovators think like you.

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Who are the Collaborators?

Zone of Genius: Integration

Ideas can never go anywhere by themselves. Innovation relies on collaboration and socialization. Collaborators love to get involved with some or all of the process, help improve ideas, and then champion them.

You understand how to capture the attention of people from other groups to excavate blind spots and nurture relationships. This helps you create powerful ideas and increase the chances of success. Collaborators care less about getting personal credit and more about building bonds, so ideas have a greater chance of success.



Plato once said that your archetype
describes “your ideal self.”


Your role in the bigger picture:

You know how to represent, Collaborator! Of the thousands of people who have taken the Innovation Archetype Assessment, a mere 12% rank as this archetype.

You’ll find success in roles and job functions that align with who you are as a person, or your archetype. You may earn accomplishments in roles that aren’t natural for you, but the struggle between your true self and how you’re expected to show up every day exhausts you over time. The likelihood that you’ll experience burn out and conflict increases dramatically. That is, unless you understand and learn how to manage the balance between what you bring to the world as an innovative thinker and what the world expects of you.

When you soar

When a Collaborator’s in the groove, you’re able to help people see their blind spots. You know how to nurture relationships in ways that make people want to bring their best to the task at hand, which creates cohesion on teams.

Collaborators understand that people can create bigger, better things together than when they play the Lone Ranger. You actively look for ways to integrate with others to expand your own abilities and those of the people with whom you work. You are equally good if teams work in person or in remote environments. You prove to be an excellent mentor.

When you struggle

But your focus on bringing everyone together can mean you get hung up on the tools you use. Your interest in being open can lead you to overshare, and others to avoid you. As Collaborators consistently look to bring people together and integrate ideas, it can mean that your work gets flat over time. You end up going after work that’s agreeable by everyone rather than truly innovative.

How you interact with the other Innovation Archetypes:

Not every innovator looks the same, nor should they. Each has their own ideal self. Understanding your strengths helps bring out your best in your own work. It affects how you contribute on a team and how you interact with others in your organization. It also affects how well you perform in any role you’re in or job title you have.

Along with you, the following five innovation archetypes make up the most successful teams in the most innovative companies, regardless of size, industry or location. As you read through them, do you identify with just one of them? Or do you see yourself in several? Some people report that they’re a little bit of all of them; does that sound like you? While more than one may feel relatable, the truth is that it comes from having practiced functioning in the mindset of these different types of innovators. The more fluent you are in understanding the different archetypes, how you support their work and vice versa, the easier it will be to identify opportunities to fill in the gaps when situations need it.

Think about each of the Zones of Genius and how they may relate to how you naturally think. This will help you see how the teams you’re on might be set up, where and how you naturally contribute or struggle and why.


Zone of Genius: Challenging the status quo
These nonconformist thinkers question long-held assumptions and generate highly original ideas. Their ability to push past the obvious makes them sustainable and prolific idea generators.


When you’re in harmony

  • The reflective nature of Collaborators who pay attention to constant improvement is the perfect balance to the Provocateur’s lack of attention to details.
  • Provocateurs love to think about how all of their enveloping-pushing ideas will start to take hold across teams and silos. Collaborators help them make a bigger difference across the organization.

When you’re in conflict

  • The Provocateur’s challenging nature flies in the face of the Collaborator’s focus on better, deeper and more effective integration.
  • When Collaborators are more willing to stand up for the team than they are for the idea, they find themselves in conflict with the Provocateur’s nonstop push for something better.



Zone of Genius: Strategy and planning
Strategists love to create the blueprint and get things done. They have an eye for priorities and how things should be executed in order to show results. They like to teach others to do the same, and people identify Strategists as the “go-to” people for launching new ideas and bringing them to fruition.

When you’re in harmony

  • By focusing on improving ideas and then advocating for them, Collaborators shore up the Strategist’s work by helping everyone get behind a unified vision.
  • Both strategy and integration require clarity about what the perfect future looks like. This makes it easier for everyone to understand the purpose of the work and why everyone’s role matters.

When you’re in conflict

  • The Strategist’s “get ‘er done” feel to their work can come across like sandpaper to the Collaborator.
  • As a Strategist looks to make order out of chaos with their strategy and approach to planning, Collaborators can feel that the people who come together to make it all happen can get lost in the mix.

Culture Shaper

Zone of Genius: Communicate change
As a Culture Shaper, this innovator architects the brand and oversees how it’s being expressed. They sculpt the image and perception of innovation and articulate the range of knowledge that its people share.


When you’re in harmony

  • Perhaps one of the most effective archetype combinations. The Collaborator’s focus on integration works beautifully with a Culture Shaper’s intent to bring out the range of expertise of people.
  • Both archetypes like to roll up their sleeves and make sure that the work they care about crosses the finish line.

When you’re in conflict

  • Too much attention on making things gel between people and teams can make it hard to address the critical message – change.
  • Collaborators can feel overly loyal to people they’ve bonded with. That makes it difficult for Culture Shapers to talk about the work everyone does from a different lens.


Zone of Genius: Empathy
By smashing the traditional perspective of a highly rational approach to solving problems, the Psychologist understands unstructured innovation. Perhaps even more importantly they understand the evolving role of trust not just in innovation, but in business today.


When you’re in harmony

  • What do you get when you blend two people who care about people and integration? Pure magic!
  • The nature of both Psychologists and Collaborators is on other people, supporting them, and helping them develop and deliver their best work.


When you’re in conflict

  • Collaborators realize that successful integration often requires processes and technology. When they get too hung up on that, they can forget about the third leg of the stool – people.
  • Psychologists can feel Collaborators are out of touch when the latter gets too focused on the idea itself and their desire to keep moving it forward.


Zone of Genius: Lead fearlessly
Orchestrators choreograph the process to keep things humming. They know how to maneuver the political stepping-stones in every corner of the business. Orchestrators also drive relationships and the reputation of innovation within their organization.

When you’re in harmony

  • You’re both highly adept at understanding why you need the support of others within the organization and rarely need to dig into the details of how to make this happen.
  • Avoiding pitfalls before they happen can mean the difference between success and failure. Your skills as an Orchestrator and that of Collaborators mean nurturing the right relationships early in the process.

When you’re in conflict

  • Your desire to be the linchpin can feel like attention seeking to the humbler Collaborator, who believes the focus should be on the work, not the people.
  • Orchestrators can come across as blunt and “knowing best.” This can make Collaborators feel that they don’t really care about building an integrated approach to new ideas.




We’ll start by having your whole team take the Innovation Archetype Assessment. Then, we’ll benchmark your team against your performance goals, showing you how to increase alignment, improve effectiveness, spark passion and confidence, empower people to draw on the strengths of their archetype, and build deeper trust, commitment and confidence.

The ultimate outcome is a team that enjoys working together, appreciates each other’s diverse experiences and insights, and consistently delivers highly innovative and effective results.




What can you learn from the world’s most prolific innovators?

The most successful idea people know that it’s not a title that brings big outcomes, it’s consistently following a repeatable, scalable process. One that can be taught, learned and consistently practiced.

Learn more about our keynotes, books and research and advisory services. We’ll show you how to connect individual skills with innovation to the overall performance of your organization.



We’ve worked with startups, Fortune 100 companies and every size in between. We help executives and leaders understand their starting points, design their innovation journey, and deliver the research, training and advice to help them make innovation a mindset. You’ll learn the impact that a broader innovation practice has on business and the path to creating and sustaining a culture that welcomes new ideas, encourages experimentation and rewards critical thinking.

This is how companies of all sizes become genuinely nimble, passionate, innovative powerhouses that deliver extraordinary outcomes in any industry and under any market condition.

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