FourSight® is a research-based assessment ‘thinking tool’ that can be used by individuals, departments, and entire organizations. It can be utilized effectively to improve innovation teams, increase the capacity for productive and dynamic innovation and problem-solving capabilities, and map collaboration potential in support of change management efforts that include organizations as well as value and supply chains.
The FourSight® tool has been developed over the last 20 years with proven validity by Gerard Puccio, Ph.D., director of the International Center for Studies in Creativity/Center for Applied Imagination at the State University of New York College at Buffalo. Dr. Puccio first developed this user-friendly instrument in hopes of telegraphing the Center’s fundamental discoveries and principles around creativity and innovation to a broader audience.
Numerous organizations and well-known companies including IBM, UPS, and Estee Lauder, among others have integrated the FourSight® assessment into their innovation team development efforts over the years. The instrument, and its archtypes, have had call-outs in the NYT, Forbes, and Fast Company. It is a valuable tool that stands on its own; however, it can also be incredibly effective in building out internal and inclusive innovation ecosystems as well as managing change that accompanies sustainability and commitment initiatives.
How Does The FourSight® Thinking Tool Work?
The FourSight® thinking tool is considered a self-reporting instrument (users answer questions) that reveals a user’s personal mindset for problem-solving. The emergent profile shows how a person unconsciously approaches a challenge -- where their energy rises and falls. A person’s thinking and problem-solving mindset might be singularly high in one preference, or a combination of two or more (or even all four).
The 4 foundational FourSight® thinking profiles include:
In addition to these four, combination preferences are named and accompanied by archetype descriptions, as many people who take the assessment tool have dual or multiple preferences.
For example, I am a high Ideator and Implementer in FourSight® terms. That means my preference is in coming up with creative ideas, the more the merrier, and then making quick decisions based on what is in front of me to implement something, anything [insert lol emoji] because I like to get things done. My dual preference in ideation and implementation has me dubbed a “Driver,” and like many assessment instruments, the post-assessment breakdown comes with its own archetype description.
As a Driver, I can be valuable on innovation teams. However, depending on the nature of the challenge, if a team consists of many Drivers, hold on to that lightbulb moment, because we might be deficient and hit some roadblocks!
What I and my fellow Drivers are missing as part of our own problem-solving mindset is a preference for clarifying (asking critical questions and doing research that can shine a light on possible roadblocks) and developing (thinking through steps methodologically to determine perhaps the most effective ways to approach solutions).
That doesn’t mean we Drivers are incapable of engaging in these critical phases of innovation, collaboration, and change leadership facilitation; it simply means we gravitate toward ideation and implementation. And as the adage goes, “acceptance is the first step in…” in this case, the likelihood of designing better innovation outcomes from the get-go.
Improving Your Individual Innovation Mindset
The FourSight® thinking tool can be taken online individually, and in this context serves as a personalized introduction to the universal problem-solving process. Completing it can raise self-awareness about individual preferences and approaches to help a user cultivate the mindset for innovation and effective problem solving.
For example, knowing my own preferences, I am on the lookout for easy and effective approaches and tools and approaches to bolster clarification and development as part of my mindset, with the aim of improving outcomes when I tackle challenges. In addition, having a deeper understanding of the various mindsets allows me to recognize preferences in others, and to seek out sounding boards or partners to complement what I bring to solving a problem, or when assembling teams.
Improving Innovation Teams, Collaboration And Problem-Solving
The FourSight® thinking tool can also help companies and organizations build more dynamic and often better innovation teams by identifying individual member preferences and then assessing groups based on these preferences to map out teams based on the specific challenge and problem-solving needs.
If a sustainability leader is looking to generate ideas about potential initiatives in support of specific goals, for example, facilitating a team of high ideators might make sense (e.g., charging an assembled group with the task of ideating on “What might be all the ways we ______________ (fill in the blank)”?). Including some team members who are high clarifiers might also be beneficial as part of the process with strategic opportunities for them to ask important questions that might lead to more pathways of ideation. In this way, the problem-solving process can be incredibly defined, dynamic, and flexible.
An organizational team member or leader can disseminate the FourSight® assessment to teams (as advanced users) but should spend time understanding the assessment and ways it can be integrated as part of broader efforts. The set for organizations includes a technical manual and user guide, which is as easy to follow as the FourSight® thinking tool itself.
Many organizations benefit from outside facilitation assistance. Certified FourSight consultants can not only facilitate assessment across teams and organizations, but also provide training and additional problem-solving tools to teams and organizations to build capacity, to forge collaboration, or engage in problem-solving over specific challenges.
Using FourSight® As Part Of Sustainability Initiatives and Change Management
As we continue at Resonance to work with and gain insights from sustainability leaders across industries, building problem-solving capacity internally, and with external resources (open innovation) and partnerships, has been identified as critical needs.
FourSight® is one of several tools that can help organizations begin mapping capabilities to support challenge exploration related to sustainability, SCOPE Emissions Reductions, UNSDGs and ESG among other goals and commitments, as well as innovative program design, and implementation.
In addition, understanding individual and cross-team preferences for innovation and collaboration can help leaders assemble teams to support change management processes that accompany these, and other major breakpoint change initiatives, to deliver sustainable impact. We'd be happy to talk with you more about FourSight and other tools to help you build capacity.
masthead photo credit: FourSight® website 2022