An individual's cognitive ability provides the foundation for his or her innovative capabilities. Such cognitive abilities include intelligence, perseverance, creative thinking ability, and even pattern recognition. Cognitive ability refers to the functioning usually considered to be a person's mental faculties. In general, the higher an individual's cognitive abilities, the more able that person is to develop innovations and implement innovations from other sources. Leonardo da Vinci and Michaelangelo are perhaps the exemplars of strong cognitive abilities being linked to great innovations.
People with certain personality types have also been found to be more innovative. Those with a more creative personality tend to be more innovative as well. Characteristics that predispose one to innovation include openness to new ideas, perseverance, self-confidence, tolerance of ambiguity, independence, and originality. There are also personality traits that reduce a person's propensity for innovation. These include authoritarianism and being rules oriented. Personality, like cognitive ability, is thought to be a relatively stable aspect of a person, and thus not very amenable to alteration. While there are ways to improve both aspects, intervention techniques are usually aimed at other individual level characteristics.
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