Making introverts successful innovators


I have two sons and they are so different, they have same interests, but comparing their social skills or the way they communicate, they are totally different. Since they were 3 years old and started with Kindergarten, we knew for sure that one is introvert and other is extrovert.

A week ago, I was on school meeting where school psychologist gave us a lecture about kids in the age of 8,9 years and the pressure they feel in school. It was a good analisys of many groups of behaviors among kids, but I missed some words about introverts.

Half of the population are introverts, but mainly our educational, organisational and company systems are oriented to extroverts. In some environments introverts are a huge majority like in software development companies, then we have a problem how to reach these people to be involved in innovation activities.

We are working with people who sit at the back at brainstorming workshop and don’t say a word. People that are closed in their own world and have no intention to share their ideas. Well this people could have a next big thing, too! Only, the question is how to make them idea-submitters?


Make innovation process closer to them in order to attract them. First, forget about brainstorming, introverts are sitting somewhere at the rear of the room and try to make no noise, someone else will be loud and they will let them to go on. Ideation process must be closer to everyone and it can be accomplished with introducing challenges runned with online tools. This should allow them to have enough time and space to elaborate their ideas.

Outside companies, we can see people who see all open idea challenges but just read and never get involved. Also, people who are reading crowdfunding projects but are too shy to start their own. Or reading about entrepreneural projects, but never start one. This is the point to go back to educational systems which must be adapted to give introverts better changes in the future.

One thought on “Making introverts successful innovators

  1. I find that a good way to bring introverts into the conversation is to split ideation sessions into two: an initial quiet idea generation period where they spend 15-20 minutes just generating ideas on post-its individually, followed by a collaborative session where they (or others) can post the ideas on the board for discussion. This allows both the introverts and the extroverts, the go-it-aloners and the collaborators, to have a say.

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