You’re a Strategist!

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

14% of all innovators think like you.

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Who are the Strategists?

Zone of Genius: Plan and execute

Strategists love to create a plan and then get things done. They always have an eye for priorities and how to execute things, so they have results to show. Delivering value is at the heart of the Strategist. They readily accept accountability and responsibility for innovation—regardless of their title.

Strategists know and understand the bigger business strategy, shepherd work through the process, and out the door. They understand true success requires both a plan and action. They like to teach others to do the same, and people identify Strategists as the go-to people to launch new ideas and bring them to fruition.

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

Your role in the bigger picture:

You know how to represent, Strategist! Of the thousands of people who have taken the Innovation Assessment, only 14% 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 it comes to innovation, Strategists can see around the corner. You seem to have a sixth sense when it comes to thinking bigger and naturally know the steps to get things done. You like to have concrete plans, and to measure and report progress.

When you struggle

However, sometimes you get so caught up in execution that you lose sight of how to bring people along for the ride. Strategists can come across as rigid, egotistical (I know best), aloof, and out of touch. You can be convinced of your own rightness to such a degree that you turn off others and have a hard time convincing them that your ideas have merit.

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.

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

  • You’re both big on creating the structure that’s necessary to supports innovation, new ideas and, ultimately, change.
  • Strategists appreciate the story-driven Culture Shapers and how they’re able to help others see and understand a vision of the future, and then get down to the brass tacks of making it a reality.

When you’re in conflict

  • The Strategist’s natural drive for order can feel like rigid perfectionism to Culture Shapers.
  • The Culture Shaper’s focus on ensuring the story of change comes through in ways people can relate to makes Strategists feel like everybody is dragging their feet rather than getting on with the business at hand.


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

  • Getting people to rally around a common strategy and then move forward in unison may be the epitome of a high-functioning Strategist-Psychologist duo.
  • By focusing on the underlying need to build trust throughout the innovation process, Psychologists pave the way to help Strategists clear higher hurdles, faster.

When you’re in conflict

  • Strategists love structure and Psychologists focus on the soft side of innovation, which can lead to polarized approaches for how to move forward.
  • As Psychologists home in on how people feel with new ideas and the change that comes with them, pragmatic Strategists get impatient and default to the “it’s not personal, it’s business” mentality.


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

  • The cohesion that comes from two archetypes who have a solid strategy and then fearlessly move forward with the plan is unmatched with any other combination of archetypes.
  • When combining forces, Orchestrators and Strategists can root out nearly all potential pitfalls or hurdles before they take the first step.

When you’re in conflict

  • An Orchestrator’s default to move forward fearlessly can rile a Strategist who doesn’t believe that a proper strategy has been mapped out.
  • Orchestrators are more willing to negotiate a situation at the expense of a mapped-out approach much to the chagrin of a Strategist’s tried and true game plan.


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

  • 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 get lost in the mix.


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

  • No other archetype can push boundaries like a Provocateur when they believe there’s a brighter future. Combine this idealism with the practicality of a Strategist to get things done and you have the perfect A-team.
  • The Provocateur’s willingness to rattle cages plays well with the Strategist’s desire to design a blueprint to make things better.

When you’re in conflict

  • The impatient Provocateur can jump in with both feet before the Strategist believes there’s even a plan to follow. This creates tension that makes everyone uncomfortable.
  • The Strategist’s desire to bring things to completion can be in direct conflict with the Provocateur’s spontaneous nature.



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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