Those with strong Ideation talents are fascinated by ideas. A new idea makes their day, and often times the ideas come like popcorn. I had a colleague high in Ideation who said she would often vow to stay quiet during team meetings, but at around the 20-minute mark found herself clutching the edge of the table in order to keep all the ideas from bursting forth.
I see three aspects to Ideation: Creativity, Complexity, and Connectivity. Ideation can be very creative, and the creativity can take two forms. One is a blue-sky, blank-canvas approach. Some with Ideation high are at their best creating something out of nothing. The other form of creativity is reacting to and improving/changing that which already exists -- looking at something and thinking, "What if we did this, or changed this? What would it look like if we turned it around this way?"
Ideation loves complexity, often just for the sheer sake of the intricacy of it all. One individual with Ideation in his Top 5 is fascinated with Medieval European history -- not because he has Context, but because that era of history is so complex and variated. Ideation also loves to make the complex simple and find the common thread. The connectivity of Ideation comes from the ability to see and find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena or ideas. Finding the connection is a particular thrill for those high in Ideation.
In this installment of Compare and Contrast, I explore the similarities and differences between Ideation and Intellection, Futuristic, and Input. All of these themes are thinking themes, so there are many similarities among them. But the differences, while often subtle, are important.
Ideation and Intellection
While both Ideation and Intellection are energized with the activity of thinking about things, the approach to thinking that Ideation takes is more of that of an artist, while the approach Intellection takes is more of that of a philosopher. Ideation loves novelty, while Intellection loves theory. Intellection tends to do deep thinking about a particular subject, plumbing the depths and considering all the angles and theories. Ideation may also take a deep dive, but it is more likely to be about the possibilities and can spin off into many directions -- one thought leading to another and then another. When individuals have both Ideation and Intellection as dominant themes, they are apt to come up with creative ideas, think them through, and develop a cohesive theory for implementation.
Ideation and Futuristic
Ideation and Futuristic are quite likely to show up in an individual's Top 5, and they have very similar attributes. Ideation loves coming up with something new; Futuristic loves the inspiration that comes from envisioning what can be. Both can be seen as impractical dreamers, yet both can lift the emotions of the team with the wonder of their ideas. Where they differ is in the focus of their imaginative thinking. Ideation can be very "now" focused, thinking about the complexity of the current situation, thinking about the artist's creative process while looking at a painting, or, as noted above, trying to understand the complexity of medieval society. Futuristic imagination is about what the world may be like in 10 years, imagining what advances in technology and robotics will mean for humanity in the next 50 years, and how cool it will be when we eventually get jetpacks.
Ideation and Input
If Ideation is the artist and Intellection the philosopher in our theoretical academic community, Input is the librarian -- the collector, archiver, and resource. When Ideation says, "I've been fascinated with the Internet of Things recently," Input replies, "Ooh! I just read an article about that! Let me send you the link!" There is a utilitarian nature to Input that gives practicality to its thinking and collecting -- this may be useful to someone someday. Ideation doesn't necessarily need practicality or utility to its thinking; thinking up something new is useful in and of itself. When Ideation and Input are combined in someone's Top 5, the creative drive of Ideation is supplemented with the resource-finding of Input.