A worldview is more than a type or a style. It’s a collection of deeply held beliefs about how we interpret and experience the world. A dominant worldview is a comprehensive conception of the world from a specific standpoint. We derive these views from our personal experiences as well as the cultures in which we are socialized, for we are neither self-contained nor self-created. We exist as part of a larger community and system. Our dominant worldview may change over time as we experience new situations and become more self-aware of our own inclinations.

In revealing your greatest strength, your dominant world-view also reveals your greatest weakness. Furthermore, it considers how each kind of thinker and leader interacts with others, so you can determine the other people you need to surround yourself with most. The best innovation teams are like bands of superheroes: each member acknowledges and makes use of his or her gifts and talents, but they don’t let those superpowers limit them. They use them at the appropriate moments and then stand back and let their partners take over at other moments. There are four basic approaches to innovation: the Artist, who loves radical innovation; the Engineer, who constantly improves everything; the Athlete, who competes to develop the best innovation; and the Sage, who innovates through collaboration. These approaches come together to produce a positive tension, a constructive conflict that promotes sustainable and scalable growth.

When you combine the radical, visionary thinking of the Artist and the methodical, practical thinking of the Engineer, you get innovation that’s both revolutionary and manageable, highly ambitious but without high risk. When you combine the cutthroat, results-oriented attitude of the Athlete with the conscientious, values-oriented attitude of the Sage, you get innovation that’s both a good investment and good for the world.

In today’s snappy corporate speak, forms of creative leadership are like statement blazers or ultra low-rise jeans: they’re either in or they’re out. Every year, the most popular business magazines claim that a certain type of person is the most innovative of the moment. This month, it might be the triumph of the technological guru. In the fall, it might be the rise of the artistic genius. Pundits treat innovation strategies as if they were fashion trends, hot during one season, only to become passé the next.

The truth is that dominant worldviews are more than just catchy buzzwords on a glossy list. There is no single approach to innovation that will always come out on top. There is no over-riding trend you can rely on. Rather, knowing which kinds of leaders to bring to your project is about knowing all the things you can’t do yourself.

Excerpted from The Innovation Code by Jeff and Staney DeGraff (Berrett-Koehler Publishers August 7, 2017)


Innovation requires creativity, discipline and work. The Innovation Code is the perfect tool to discover the secrets to get the most out of your innovative process and learn how to best approach innovation.

The Conscious Company: it’s that buzzy piece of corporate speak we’ve all been hearing and using without really thinking about it. The irony is that we’re not conscious of what so-called company consciousness actually means.

What most organizations really mean when they call themselves “conscious” is conscientious: wishing to do what is right. There are tons of post-millennial “conscious” companies that show compassion, prioritize ethics, and give back to communities. Consider, for example, the charitable policy of Tom’s Shoes: for every pair of shoes you buy, the company donates a pair to a child in need. (more…)

Breakthrough innovation typically starts at the edges of the bell curve in the challenge of a crisis or the prospect of an outstanding opportunity. This is because the risk of deviating from the standard way of doing things and the reward of taking a chance on something new is reversed in these extremely negative and positive situations. For example, the Apple we know today was born out of its near collapse in the late 1990’s and the Telsa we currently marvel at can do no wrong because the public adores its haute couture product.

Leading innovation is different than all other forms of governance in that it pulls the exceptions at the edges of the bell curve to the stable center in an attempt to bring useful novelty into the norm. In this way, innovation often incites commercial revolutions: ubiquitous connectivity replaces shopping malls and universities, smart gadgets replace billfolds and magazines, miracle drugs replace invasive surgeries and going to the gym, and the like. (more…)