Taking advantage of Holland’s Theory of Career Choice in the form of a good person-work environment fit promotes skills needed for innovation. These skills include collaboration and problem-solving, which top the list of 21st Century “in-demand” job skills in employer surveys. When people work with people of similar interests, abilities and values, collaboration and problem-solving are natural outcomes.
I made the Holland Theory/Innovation connection while listening to innovation evangelist Tony Wagner’s keynote at this summer’s National Career Development Association conference. Here are three other ways applying Holland’s Theory to career choices promotes innovation:
1. Person-environment fit encourages curiosity. Wagner says that “curiosity, which is a habit of asking good questions and a desire to understand more deeply,” is an “innovation skill.” A good person-environment fit encourages immersing oneself in a career field, especially in a job market rewarding specialization. Colleagues interact with others of similar interests, learning from one another and feeding off mutual enthusiasm and curiosity in a career field.
2. Knowing one’s strongest personality types leads to healthy risk-taking and confidence in career decision-making. Knowing more about themselves gives people a platform from which to take risks and create innovation within a job. It also enables necessary job and career changes required in the new economy. If you know your compatible environments within the world of work, you can see more options to make better, more informed choices.
3. Learning about the six different personalities and work environments teaches people about the value of “differing gifts.” Understanding Holland’s Theory highlights the need to collaborate and network with people blessed with “differing gifts.” Wagner says collaboration is an integral part of innovation – especially across disciplines. For example, an architect who wants to promote her innovative designs would likely be more successful integrating advice and ideas from Enterprising and Conventional types to promote and sell her work.
For more on innovation, see Tony Wagner’s book, Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World.