Being adapted to a fast-paced, complex and constantly changing reality


Our world has changed in ways we are only beginning to phathom. We're collectively leaving the industrial age behind and have entered the age of information and interconnectedness. The rules of the game have changed fundamentally and we're being challenged to adapt.

Nearly everyone is aware of the large increase in the speed of life. Business as usual really is a thing of the past and being agile has become a prerequisite for success. But there's more. Life has lost much of its predictability and linearity, our world has become infinitely more complex.    


A changed world

Complexity often has a negative or difficult ring to it, but shouldn't have. An increase in complexity is simply the way of evolution. This goes for organisms, but thanks to global interconnectedness, for organizations and society as a whole as well. We're in the middle of a great transition and Innovation Leaders can help us make the evolutionary jump that is required.

Innovation Leaders are naturally attuned to a more complex world. They have a built in need for speed, can handle uncertainty and ambiguity, are able to detect and decipher complex patterns and are driven to create. They see possibilities were others don't.

Example: Creativity profile

But because all of this comes natural to them, they often have a hard time understanding why others don't keep up with them and are frustrated by the experience. Understanding that they are both qualitatively and quantitatively different, helps in getting a grip on this phenomenon.


Adaptation factors



Perception - becoming aware of separate parts and the whole at the same time, picking up layers and patterns in the process.

Innovation leaders perceive the complexity of situations and even of life itself. They have a feel for the interrelations at play. 



Deduction - generating ideas, insights and solutions, by connecting your perceptions to a wide variety of knowledge and experiences. 

Innovation leaders pick up the hidden interrelatedness in seemingly unconnected events. They make sense of what's happening and what is possible.



Reception - being able to pick up subtle but important information from various sources.

Innovation leaders have a feel for what's emerging. They notice where potentials and openings lie, where others can't.



Reaction - responding to triggers with passion and life-giving energy.

High-powered responsiveness is what gets Innovation Leaders out of their chairs and become involved in whatever triggered them. It is the great activator that initiates truly new creations.



Acceleration - the drive to fast-forward everything you set your mind to.

Innovation leaders can generate hight and speed like no one else. In this respect they are like swans in a world of ducks. 

International example

Few architects have created so many iconic buildings as Dame Zaha Hadid. Born in Iraq, she revolutionized her profession by introducing organic shapes, which earned her the nickname Queen of the Curve.

Her creations were of an exceptional complexity, fusing countless dissimilar parts into an organic whole. The hallmark of exceptional powers of Perception and Deduction.

As if to illustrate her attunement to a changed world, Martin Kimmelman of the New York Times wrote: "her buildings elevate uncertainty to an art.".

Her productivity was legendary and exemplary of her ability to Accelerate everything her minds eye could envision.

Throughout her career, she was a dedicated teacher, enthused by the energy of the young, reflecting the Responsive part of her character.

The legacy of Zaha Hadid is truly unique.

National example

Paul de Bruijn of Coehoorn Centraal in Arnhem (NL) is a prime example of a highly complex succesful Innovation Leader in the social sector in The Netherlands.

An in-depth interview on his Innovation Leadership Assessment can be read here (in English) and here (in Dutch). 

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