Work Traits


Pioneering is all about driving innovative ideas and leaping fearlessly into new environments.
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Define pioneering

As a pioneer, you’ll like variety, radical changes, and the challenge of bringing new ideas and methods to your organization. 

The fertile ground of the new and undiscovered is your natural habitat. 

When approaching problems you’ll have a desire to start things from scratch or figure out new pathways to a solution. Disrupting the status quo is as attractive to you as creating an entirely new one. 

Rapid and drastic change doesn’t faze you; it energizes you. You’ll either be an early adopter or the one spearheading the changes yourself. This trait naturally goes alongside entrepreneurship, design, and the arts.

We call it: Difference

Level of energy for radical change and things that are new, different and unique.

It isn't all over; everything has not been invented; the human adventure is just beginning.

Gene Roddenberry

Leaders known for their pioneering spirit

Zaha Hadid

Zaha Hadid

Dame Zaha Hadid was a British-Iraqi architect from Baghdad, Iraq, and one of the world’s greatest architectural designers. She has won countless awards and had a prolific career, producing a portfolio of groundbreaking constructions across the world. 

Famed for her innovative designs, incorporating striking curves and flowing geometry, her buildings stand admired around the globe, from the London Olympic Aquatic Centre to Guangzhou Opera House to the Zaragoza Bridge Pavilion.

Unsurprisingly, pioneers in the architectural world were worthy of her respect: “I have always appreciated those who dare to experiment with materials and proportions.”

René Redzepi

René Redzepi is a Danish chef, restaurateur and author. He is the co-owner of Noma, an eatery in Copenhagen which has repeatedly been voted the best restaurant in the world. 

As well as winning numerous awards for the incredible quality of his food, he’s admired for introducing the ’New Nordic’ style of cuisine, noted for its inventiveness, natural provenance and combinatory flavors. 

Bringing entirely new dishes to the table consistently is an art that few chefs have perfected, but Redzepi has his own pioneering methods - one of which is foraging in the wild forests of the local environment.

René Redzepi
Illustration of an author known for a certain trait

Simone Giertz

Simone Giertz is a Swedish inventor, robotics enthusiast, TV host, YouTuber, and TED speaker. She’s known for her videos of her comically disastrous robotic inventions, such as the dog selfie photo booth, the face-slapping alarm clock, and the toothbrush helmet. 

Her videos have gained hundreds of millions of views due to her offbeat, creative and hilarious inventions, but she’s also inspired many people to get into science & engineering through her humor. 

Pioneering has always been a part of Simone’s life: “I never sat down with a book being like, ‘Ok now I’m going to learn about transistors.’ Instead I had an idea that I really liked and learned as I was trying to figure out how to build it.”

The benefits of pioneering

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Idea machine

When a challenge needs a new approach, colleagues will turn to you for leaps of imagination and novel, innovative thinking.

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If your team is stuck on what to do next, you’ll be the one to illuminate the path ahead and get everyone moving.

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Quick to react

When opportunity knocks, you fear no change, and are ready to jump on the next chance to make an impact and break new ground.

The blind spots of pioneering

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Change for change’s sake

As a natural ground-breaker, sometimes you’ll be tempted to tinker with established methods when there’s no need for change.

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When you’re always doing new things, it can be hard to show progress or gain insight from trends.

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You might be a little hard to work with if colleagues don’t know when and where you’ll be working each day - metaphorically and literally.

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How to be more pioneering

1) Speak like a pioneer.

Pioneering thoughts start with pioneering language, and adding a few inspirational words and phrases to your everyday lexicon can make all the difference to your creativity. 

It doesn’t mean you have to sound like a zealous motivational speaker. And you don’t have to change your personality to be someone you’re not. But the odd ‘revolutionary’, ‘different’, ’start from scratch’ or ’switch up’ dropped into your messaging can really get the gears of innovation whirring in your head.

2) Try new things once in a while.

If you find comfort in the familiar, pioneering might not come naturally to you. But if you systematically and gently try to bring different things into your life, you might find you have more of a creative spirit than expected. 

It might start with trying a different lunch spot on Wednesdays, but could end up with you adopting an entirely different persona for certain projects. Put on your pioneer hat and celebrate small pioneering wins - whether it’s learning to use a new software tool, collaborating with someone from a different department, or making a proposal for an entirely new work process.

3) Take the initiative.

Sometimes, you’ve just got to take the reins and lead by example. 

For the naturally shy or introverted, it might be a little uncomfortable at first. But you’re part of the organization for a reason - people trust you. Why not cash in on some of that trust by speaking up and daring colleagues to let you take the lead once in a while? 

No matter how smart team members might be, they always need leadership. And the surprise of seeing a quiet one stand up and share their new idea might work in your favor - if you’re not the one talking all the time, people will listen more when you do break your silence.

4) Decipher the pioneers’ methods.

Groundbreaking innovation often has humble beginnings; from methodical, prosaic thinking comes huge leaps of the imagination. 

Sometimes, pioneers are indeed what you’d think of as ‘genius’. They have an unfathomable quality that makes them seem like a wizardly conduit to another dimension. But in reality, many pioneering thinkers are just as scrupulous as anyone else.

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