Personality traits of 7 types of creators classified by animals.
If creators and innovators could be compared to animals, who would they most likely resemble?
By Robert Gerlach, Creativity Educator, Author & Founder of IQudo sport of ideas
The name “Hummingbird” derives from the humming sound created by their rapidly beating wings. They are the only birds with the ability to fly backward.
Typical representative: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 1791)
Main characteristic: Humorous and playful. Composed very quickly. Signed some of his letters with “Trazom” (backward for Mozart).
Famous quote: When I feel well and in a good humor, or when I am taking a drive or walking after a good meal, or in the night when I cannot sleep, thoughts crowd into my mind as easily as you could wish.
The diligent bee
Bees are known for their diligence and their poisonous sting. Besides honey, they produce wax, which can be used for candles.
Typical representative: Thomas A. Edison (1847 – 1931)
Main characteristic: Diligent. Perseveringly searching for innovations – attempt by attempt. Dangerous. (Used his sting in the War of Currents and lost.)
Famous quote: Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.
The (almost) never-aging axolotl
The Axolotl, also known as a Mexican salamander, retains juvenile characteristics while becoming an adult. He has the ability to reproduce limbs, organs, and even parts of the brain.
Typical representative: Karl Lagerfeld (1933 – 2019)
Main characteristic: Timeless. Surviving decades in fashion in a juvenile state.
Famous quote: I’m from no generation, I’m part of no group, I’m totally floating and this is the whole story and why I can survive.
The reality-distorted macpie
Believed to be one of the most intelligent birds; the Magpie likes to steal shiny objects. The American Macpie (sic) lives in California.
Typical representative: Steve Jobs (1955 – 2011)
Main characteristic: Intelligent. Loves to steal ideas.
Famous quote: We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas!
The people-loving dolphin
Dolphins are intelligent and social mammals. They like to help injured animals and protect humans from being attacked by sharks.
Typical representative: Nikola Tesla (1856 – 1943)
Main characteristic: Compassionate. (Tore up a contract, worth $12 million in 1907, to save his boss George Westinghouse from bankruptcy.)
Famous quote: I don’t care that they stole my idea. I care that they don’t have any of their own.
The uninspired copycat
Can be found in habitats all over the world. Doesn’t know anything about creativity. Constantly running behind the ideas of others. Some of them try to understand creative life by applying creativity techniques. Could also be called a poor dog.
Typical representative: Fast Follower
Main characteristics: Unconscious of its inner magician. Likes to imitate originals.
Famous quote: I did not copy.
The miraculous butterfly
Starts its life as a caterpillar. Eats lots of information. Cocoons itself and miraculously transforms into one of the most beautiful creatures.
Typical representative: You
Main characteristics: Curious. Loves to take the plunge and upgrade its life, to experience self-efficacy and joy.
Famous quote: I have a great idea!
If you would like to take the plunge and upgrade your life, to experience self-efficacy and joy, have a look at my book Innovator’s High. This how-to guide provides new insights on creativity, such as >> the #1 reason why people have their best ideas on the job >> how to transform negative feelings into creative power >> why great artists never steal and >> how to find ideas during crunch time.
Innovator’s High comes with: Over 40 colored infographics and illustrations, 2 paradigm shifts, countless examples, and 96 tips to cope with tight deadlines and tap into euphoria. This jam-packed guide is for anyone in an industry that requires fresh ideas and creative genius of any kind. This book will guide you on how to unlock your creative potential and keep it flowing, even when deadlines are coming up fast. Find out more: Innovator’s High
Praise for Innovator’s High
“Robert does an amazing job of reframing creativity as the sport of ideas. His use of stories tied in with compelling examples walks you through aspects of creativity brilliantly. You won’t have any other choice but to unlock how you think of it and apply it to what is important to you. This is a great read for artists, anyone creative, everyone who thinks they are not creative, employees, and especially managers. Innovator’s High is infectious and elevates you to a place you may not have been before. Don’t be scared, embrace it, and once you are there – stay there. Read it, believe it, and experience Innovator’s High!”
– Jim Docktor, Learning Designer, Apple
About Robert Gerlach
Hi, I’m Robert, a German-born creativity teacher, and author. My teaching focuses on creative thinking for knowledge workers and leaders.
Driven by the question: “Why am I creative in one company and not in another?”, I founded the training academy IQudo sport of ideas in 2006. Since then, I have pioneered the invention of new methodologies, such as Dual Thinking to help facilitate creative knowledge to designers, employees, and managers of numerous companies, such as Microsoft BASF, SAP, and Samsung. To stay on top of the creativity game, I mentor theses at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT-EnTechnon). A perfect day to me is being able to express myself in six languages: English, German, Portuguese, Spanish, French, and Dancing.