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An Introduction to the Ideation® CliftonStrengths Theme

Looking to learn more about Ideation? Whether you want to know more about how to use your Ideation theme to succeed, or how to help someone harness theirs, you've come to the right place.

You'll find definitions and descriptions made popular in the international bestseller StrengthsFinder 2.0, plus ideas for how to better understand and use this CliftonStrengths theme.

What Is the Definition of Ideation?

Ideation and the rest of the CliftonStrengths themes are comprised of natural talents that Gallup has identified through decades of research.

People exceptionally talented in the Ideation theme are fascinated by ideas. They are able to find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena.

People complete the CliftonStrengths assessment to learn which of the 34 themes, like Ideation, are strongest in them.

The following theme description highlights the thoughts, feelings and behaviors you are likely to experience if you have strong Ideation:

You are fascinated by ideas. What is an idea? An idea is a concept, the best explanation of most events. You are delighted when you discover, beneath the complex surface, an elegantly simple concept to explain why things are the way they are.

An idea is a connection. Yours is the kind of mind that is always looking for connections, and so you are intrigued when seemingly disparate phenomena can be linked by an obscure connection. An idea is a new perspective on familiar challenges. You revel in taking the world we all know and turning it around so we can view it from a strange but strangely enlightening angle. You love all these ideas because they are profound, because they are novel, because they are clarifying, because they are contrary, and because they are bizarre.

For all these reasons, you derive a jolt of energy whenever a new idea occurs to you. Others may label you creative or original or conceptual or even smart. Perhaps you are all of these. Who can be sure? What you are sure of is that ideas are thrilling. And on most days, this is enough.

Ideation is a theme in the Strategic Thinking domain of CliftonStrengths.

People with dominant Strategic Thinking themes like Ideation absorb and analyze information that informs better decisions.

Each of the 34 CliftonStrengths sort to one of four domains -- Executing, Influencing, Relationship Building and Strategic Thinking. These domains help you understand how to use individual CliftonStrengths to succeed when you join, create or lead a team.

Learn more about the CliftonStrengths domains

How to Better Understand Your Ideation Theme

Making the most of your Ideation talents starts with gaining valuable insights into what you naturally do best.

How people with strong Ideation talents describe themselves:

  • "I am unaffected by the ambiguity and risk of innovation."
  • "I need freedom to explore possibilities without restraints or limits."
  • "I love coming up with something brand new."
  • "I hate doing what has always been done."
  • "I bring new and fresh perspectives."

How to Apply Your Ideation to Succeed

The most successful people invest in their strongest talents. The only way to develop your Ideation talents is to use them every day -- at work, at home and everywhere else.

The following are a few ideas for how to apply your Ideation to achieve your goals:

Work With Ideation: You are a natural fit with research and development; you appreciate the mindset of visionaries and dreamers. Spend time with imaginative peers, and sit in on their brainstorming sessions.

Lead With Ideation: Understand the fuel for your Ideation talents: When do you get your best ideas? When you're talking with people? When you're reading? When you're simply listening or observing? Take note of the circumstances that seem to produce your best ideas, and recreate them.

Live With Ideation: You are likely to get bored quickly, so make some small changes in your work or home life. Experiment. Play mental games with yourself. All of these will help keep you stimulated.

Check out our in-depth videos from Gallup experts for more ways to use Ideation to make the most of your potential.


If You're a Manager With Ideation

Your Ideation talent makes you stronger. Lead with your strengths so both you and your team can succeed. A strengths-based approach to management will lead to:

  • better conversations
  • stronger partnerships
  • higher team engagement
  • greater collaboration

For manager-specific insights and strategies, check out your CliftonStrengths for Managers report and explore your top 10 themes and how you can use them to reach your goals.

Managing Team Members With Strong Ideation Talents

Discovering the collective talents of your team using the CliftonStrengths assessment is just the first step.

To successfully manage or lead others, you must individualize your approach. You must understand what makes each of your team members unique. And you must lead meaningful conversations about performance that focus on what each person naturally does best.

An Example of Managing Team Members With Ideation

Because they thrive on ideas, feed them new concepts that align with their goals and desired performance outcomes. This will inspire them to use these ideas to generate new insights and discoveries of their own.

Use the CliftonStrengths Assessment to Discover More About Ideation

CliftonStrengths DNA Strand image.

How Strong Are Your Ideation Talents?

Purchase CliftonStrengths 34 to reveal your complete unique talent profile and learn just how strong your Ideation talents are. You'll get personalized insights into your CliftonStrengths results and ideas for maximizing your potential.

Group of people at work discussing their strengths.

How to Work With Others With Strong Ideation Talents

Gallup offers resources and products you can use to help others succeed by developing their Ideation theme and all their CliftonStrengths.