By: Edward Mellett
Innovation is one of the main ways in which a business can differentiate itself from the competition. Innovation could take place by improving business processes or by entering new markets after upgrading current product and service offerings. To be innovative, companies need creative employees who have the ability to transform ideas into reality.
Skills in Innovation
Being innovative is a sought after skill and businesses should make efforts to encourage their employees to be innovative.
Innovation requires a variety of skills rather than one specific attribute or ability. Here are some of the most valuable skills that spark innovation within organizations:
When employees are creative, they have the ability to formulate new problems and they can apply what they have learned in multiple situations. Being creative means that someone can make use of a proven system or existing business equipment and create new ideas out of those.
Solving problems is a fundamental part of jobs in this sector. For a company to innovate, they must employ talents that have the ability to identify a problem, evaluate options and then implement a final solution to address barriers and circumstances that can prevent the organization from achieving their goals.
Being able to communicate effectively is one of the most important skills that employees can possess. When it comes to innovation, communication is even more important. Employees need to be able to articulate their thoughts clearly and concisely and in a non-technical way.
Where certain skills and attributes are vital for a business, an employer may use an aptitude test.
The US Coast Guard has created an employee engagement program that invites innovative ideas from every member of their 80,000 person workforce to share ideas that might help them meet their mission. Sometimes they adopt existing technology like social media to solve their problems and sometimes they explore emerging technology like machine learning. Find out how in this podcast interview.
Aptitude tests explained
An aptitude test is a structured assessment that aims to evaluate job candidates’ or even existing employees’ talent and/or skill in completing certain tasks without any prior knowledge or training. There are lots of different types of aptitude test which can assess a series of core skills such as technical knowledge and comprehension.
An increasing number of employers are now using aptitude tests as a way to assess the specific capabilities of potential employees. They are often used as a method of screening to identify high calibre candidates. The content of an aptitude test, particularly in an industry such as innovation, needs careful thought and consideration. They are used to assess candidates in terms of their skills, knowledge, ability and personality. Aptitude tests are an accurate way of predicting the potential contribution of a candidate and the likelihood of them achieving success within the organization. It can sometimes be difficult from an interview alone to assess the candidate’s skills, so an aptitude test provides the employer with a greater insight into their capabilities.
Typical aptitude tests include:
- Numerical Reasoning
This type of test gauges how well the candidate can interpret graphs, data, statistics or charts
- Verbal Reasoning
Verbal reasoning tests are designed to identify whether or not the candidate understands written information and passage of text.
- Diagrammatic Reasoning
This type of aptitude test evaluate candidates’ ability to follow diagrams, identify patterns, synthesize data, and solve problems logically.
- Logical Reasoning
Logical reasoning gauges candidates’ ability to follow something through to a conclusion when given basic information.
- Inductive Reasoning
This test measures a candidate’s ability to solve problems when given unfamiliar information.
During the recruitment process, it is important for employers to assess the skills and abilities of candidates because these often reflect their capacity to do the job. Assessing important skills through an aptitude test can help highlight exemplary candidates who can really make a valuable contribution to the future of a business.
The best innovations are derived from highly motivated and skilled employees. Finding a high calibre candidate during the recruitment process without the use of an aptitude test could prove challenging to say the least. An aptitude test can help a business differentiate the good from the great in an industry where employees need to generate ideas that are the best of the best.
By Edward Mellett
About the author
Edward Mellett is the founder of Practice Reasoning Tests, a free-to-use careers website for jobseekers.