Why I Can’t Stop Thinking About The Innovator’s DNA

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I recently found myself at a party with Hal Gregersen, one of the authors of The Innovator’s DNA (his daughter married one of my best friends). We were chatting and he asked me how I liked working at Accenture, and I shared my automatic response that I like how consulting exposes you to so many different companies and business models.

Later that evening it hit me that I had completely forgotten the primary lessons of The Innovator’s DNA and how it affects what I do at Accenture. Oddly, this was something I had thought about in depth when I first read the book.

The Innovator’s DNA splits skills into two camps: Discovery Skills and Delivery Skills.

Discovery Skills are:

  • Associating
  • Questioning
  • Observing
  • Experimenting
  • Networking

Delivery Skills are:

  • Analyzing
  • Planning
  • Detail-oriented implementing
  • Disciplined executing

Accenture is a delivery company. I spent last week in Delivery Management School being trained on how to use my delivery skills to deliver projects to clients. That’s what we do. And while there are certainly pockets of our business that are Discovery-focused, Delivery is the moneymaker.

So, when I found myself asked by one of the authors of that framework how I liked working at a delivery company, I whiffed. I should have said, “I like a lot of things about it but I wish I had more opportunity to use my creativity and discovery skills every day”. There. Much better.

If you would like to learn more I recommend this book review.

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  • Jeff Rosenbaugh November 25, 2014 at 3:14 am

    Quite the opportunity! I’m sure you already do, but try to find ways to stretch those discovery muscles. You and I both excel at delivery, but the combination of the two (when I’ve been successful at it) has made all the difference in my career thus far.

    • derek November 25, 2014 at 3:24 pm

      I definitely have room to grow in the usage of my Discovery Skills. Right after this happened I went to a week-long training, and actively tried to apply the “Questioning” skill. It made things much more interesting.

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