You’re an Orchestrator!

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

8% of all innovators think like you.

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Who are the Orchestrators?

Zone of Genius: Lead fearlessly

As an Orchestrator, you lead fearlessly. You’re the one who choreographs the process to keep things humming. People see you as the person who naturally knows how to keep all the parts and pieces in sync and get things done. You advocate for the experience of the customer. You think about how to establish relationships earlier in the process, whether that’s with your fellow employees (at all levels) or externally with customers and partners.

Orchestrators know how to maneuver the political stepping-stones in every corner of the business. By reaching out to other functions that integrate with you, you also drive relationships and the reputation of innovation within your organization. You are the linchpin who knows how to build effective consensus and get things done.

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

Your role in the bigger picture:

You’re the rarest of the archetypes, Orchestrator! Of the thousands of people who have taken the Innovation Assessment, only 8% 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 your 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

Orchestrators may seem like the ultimate influencers, but your impact comes from your willingness to push forward with courage. You’re a natural at working across departments and levels of people within an organization. Orchestrators are keen on leading without hesitation and decisive when it comes to next steps. You’re willing to have difficult conversations up front so you can avoid hiccups and resistance down the line.

When you struggle

However, your fearless leadership makes you a lone wolf at times, and things can feel piecemeal. Unless you keep your people skills front and center, others may perceive you as a ladder climber or even manipulative.

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: 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

  • During times when you both hit your strides, you may be the biggest of BFFs of all innovators. You both craft the bigger vision, you knock down the political roadblocks and the Strategist keeps the plan on track.
  • Your willingness to push forward with courage and have the tough conversations are key to a Strategist’s desire to having results to show.

When you’re in conflict

  • The Strategist is all about execution, but you know that sometimes plans change in order to maneuver the political environment.
  • You understand that relationships are a big part of getting work across the goal line, but Strategists sometimes get too hung up on the details of the work and can come across as being out of touch.


Zone of Genius: Integration
Ideas can’t go anywhere by themselves. Collaborators love to get involved with some or all of the process, help improve ideas and then champion them. Collaborators care less about getting personal credit and more about building bonds, so ideas have a greater chance of success.

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 you don’t really care about building an integrated approach to new ideas.

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

  • Orchestrators and Culture Shapers like to see big things happen and understand the need for a fluid narrative that keeps people consistently moving forward.
  • When this dynamic duo is in sync, they create powerful momentum by aligning internal and external messages around a future vision.

When you’re in conflict

  • Orchestrators can forget that big change requires connecting the dots between the familiar past and the visionary future. When this happens, they see the work of Culture Shapers as tedious and a waste of time.
  • Shaping a new narrative on culture doesn’t happen overnight. The Orchestrator’s fearlessness can clash with the Culture Shaper’s steady execution.


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

  • These big thinkers love their combined “go big or go home” approach and doing what’s never been done before.
  • When they join forces, Orchestrators and Provocateurs create an inspired vision and then work through the politics to make it a reality.

When you’re in conflict

  • A Provocateur’s natural push to disrupt can lead to a major clash with an Orchestrator’s preference to keep everything humming in a forward direction.
  • Orchestrators know how to maneuver political stepping-stones and get frustrated with a Provocateur’s impatience with inevitable processes.


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

  • When both archetypes look at the big picture, they agree that people are the key to success on every level.
  • Building relationships that support a greater vision brings out the heart and soul of both the Orchestrator and Psychologist.

When you’re in conflict

  • Orchestrators can get hung up on your fearless nature and forget the people part of the equation. That never sits well with the empathy-focused Psychologist.
  • By focusing on the emotional impact of change, Psychologists and Orchestrators butt heads about tough decisions that needs to be made and who they affect.



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 keynotesbooks and research and advisory services. We’ll show you how to connect individual skills with innovation to the overall performance of your organization.

Carla Johnson Innovation Creativity Speaker Author


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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