Big 5 Personality Traits and innovation

steve jobs john skully steve wozniak

Innovation is customer’s adoption of change. It can be very small or very big, but it always includes customer decision. Customer decision can be analyzed from the point of view of Big 5 Personality Traits – a standard theory in psychology which evaluates individuals by openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.

Ideal innovation customers should have high openness and agreeableness.
This is a holy grail of an innovation customer – they are creative, empathetic, and willing to support. Creative, open, and empathetic customers are not easy to discover in sufficient quantities to build a revenue. Customers which are not open, are disagreeable, and do not empathize, are not a good base for innovation growth.

Sales & marketing team selling innovation should have high openness.
If not, they will most likely not be motivated to take risks and will eventually choose a safer and more established career. Also, they need to attract the open customers, and if they are not open themselves, they will have a hard time attracting them.

Sales & marketing funnel should be designed for ideal customers.
All content and interactions should attract customers who are creative, open, and agreeable. Brand, content, and interactions must stimulate these traits in customer decision making process, and that the customer relationship should be based on openness and empathy. If it is based on other traits, such as discount, the relationship might not be stable enough to sustain innovation growth.

Conclusion is that products which create change can not be sold to people who do not want change, by people who do not understand change, with processes which have nothing to do with change. Sometimes the main factor in the success of innovation is to exclude the wrong people.

Written by: Nikola Tosic
Publishing date: 12 Aug 2020