Idea productivity is the third of the powerful driving abilities. Idea productivity measures the quantity of ideas a person has not the quality. It measures how many ideas a person has, not how creative a person is. I like to think of idea productivity as the flow of water coming out of a faucet: some people have a slow drip, some have a flow, and others have a torrent.

People high in idea productivity love environments that require them to constantly come up with new approaches to the task at hand. When faced with a problem, they find it very easy to come up with a wide variety of possible solutions. They gravitate to roles that involve persuasion and selling.

Remember the faucet analogy above? People high in idea productivity are the folks that have the water coming out like a torrent. Ideas are constantly slamming into the front of their brain. Good ideas and bad ideas. Since abilities aren’t things you can turn on or off, this can be a serious distraction.

These people usually get restless and bored easily. Since they have difficulty focusing for a long time on a single project, they often prefer to work on several projects at the same time. Where this may look chaotic to a person lower in idea productivity, it’s actually a great way for them to harness their ability and still get work done.

People low in idea productivity have an amazing ability to focus on a task and see it through from start to finish. They don’t get distracted by other thoughts. They can focus even when working in complex environments.

People low in idea productivity need to give themselves time to come up with ideas. They may have trouble seeing new ways of doing things. They may even have trouble coming up with examples to illustrate points.

Can you see all the ways idea productivity might affect our fundraising? Here are a few:

  • If you’re higher in idea productivity, you have a natural bent to sales. That’s great in this field. But people lower in idea productivity way get frustrated with the seeming “randomness” of people higher in idea productivity. So you should probably brainstorm the ideas of your solicitation and work with someone to help you separate out the good ones before you’re in front of the donor.
  • People lower in idea productivity aren’t naturally talented at coming up with examples on the fly. They will probably need to work hard, maybe even partner with someone higher in idea productivity, to come up with stories of ways the gifts of the donor is having impact.
  • When facilitating a focus group of donors, be sure to solicit ideas from people both high and low in idea productivity. Both types come up with wonderfully creative solutions. High idea productivity folks will be easy to discern since the will be stumbling over themselves to share their ideas.

How is this knowledge about idea productivity going to impact you? Perhaps a frustrated teacher labeled you ADD or ADHD when you were really high in idea productivity. The classroom isn’t a natural environment for people high in this ability. What was labeled as a “problem” may really be a blessing in disguise.

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