Happy New Year! I hope 2019 is a great year for you.

In my last post before Christmas I asked the question – ‘what will you create in 2019?’

This article is about HOW you create depending on what kind of innovator you are. People contribute to innovation and value creation in different ways depending on the way they think and approach challenges.

Some people are highly outcome driven wanting a solution as quickly as possible while others are prepared to spend time playing with ideas. Some people build up solutions gradually through iterative steps while others take larger cognitive leaps that frequently bring flashes of illumination and AH-HA moments on their way to a solution. The intersection of these different approaches gives us the model below which identifies four types of innovators. Which one are you?

Read through the profiles and see which one you identify with the most.


Conduits are great at strategic networking and are the natural connectors. They create value byconnecting with people as well as by connecting people with each other …. and with resources. They are the natural collaborators who can see beyond the immediate boundaries of a situation in order to facilitate the kind of partnerships and alliances that leverage creative solutions and innovation.

Like optic fiber cable that connects the world on a grand scale Conduits enable and facilitate conversations and the free flow of information and data. They firmly believe in Hellen Keller’s philosophy, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”.


Imagineers are original thinkers who create value by conceptualizing new possibilities. They are able to shake free from the shackles of rigid mental models to enable their imaginations to take flight. They are original, out-of-the-box thinkers who give life to disruptive ideas. Their skill is in conceptualizing novel ideas and giving them a voice so that they become visible.

Imagineer J.K Rowling said, “Imagination is the foundation of all invention and innovation. Sometimes ideas just come to me. Other times I have to sweat and almost bleed to make ideas come. It’s a mysterious process, but I hope I never find out exactly how it works”.


Synthesisers create value by plaiting together and combining different and disparate ideas to constructsomething new. They are the catalysts that assemble and re-engineer existing ideas, concepts and processes to produce new and original solutions or products. They demonstrate the combinatorial nature of creativity by joining the dots in new ways to construct unique outcomes.

Steve Jobs was a master synthesizer. He famously said, “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things”.


Expanders create value and interesting outcomes by capitalising on existing resources and incrementally scaling up and out. They are good at figuring out what works and why and then building on that model and its strengths to create growth and exponential ROI. Expanders are good at keeping their eye on the details in the early stages of a project or initiative so that it can scale up without losing focus.

A well-known example of an Expander is Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon (and currently the richest man in the world). He systematically implemented a number of procedures at Amazon that delivered massive growth while at the same time institutionalising his core values. In the early days he kept project teams small by applying the ‘two pizza rule’. (Every internal team had to be small enough to be fed with two pizzas). This ensured that project teams stayed nimble rather than becoming highly bureaucratic.

What type of innovator are you? A conduit, imaginer, synthesiser or an expander?  Do you have all four types in your team? Let me know? Would love to hear from you.

If you’d like to know more about how these sorts of insights can facilitate team performance, contact me to make a time to have a chat.

Make a time to chat with Irena

Talk soon.

Until next time,

Dr. Irena Yashin-Shaw


E: irena@direnayashinshaw.com

M: +61 411 330 301

P: +61 7 3849 5003

Whenever you are ready here are three ways I can help your teams, leaders and organisation to be future-ready, innovative, creative and intrapreneurial.



  • Book an in-house workshop or program. Email me to discuss your needs.


Have you heard about the inaugural Australian Intrapreneurs Summit happening at the Brisbane Convention Centre on the 14th of March 2019? This historic event is bringing together innovators and change makers from diverse organisations and sectors to educate and inspire us. Register now to discover how this global movement will impact the future of your career, team and workplace.

Calling all intrapreneurs! Join our Inspiring Intrapreneurs FB group. If you identify as a corporate innovator, disruptor, positive change agent, creative problem-solver then come and join the tribe. Being an intrapreneur can be a tough gig sometimes. But you are not alone. We’re here to inspire and support you and also learn from your experience. Works both ways.

Click here to join: Inspiring Intrapreneurs with Dr. Irena Yashin-Shaw

My book “INTRAPRENEUR” is now available to order.

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