In a constantly changing and evolving world, innovation has become an increasingly essential workplace value for remaining competitive and relevant. Optimism, Self-Regard and Problem Solving are three key EQ skills for fostering innovation and enabling your team to view change as an opportunity, rather than a threat. 


Is an “indicator of one’s positive attitude and outlook on life. It involves remaining hopeful and resilient despite occasional setbacks” (MHS, 2011). At the heart of innovation is the belief that things can be improved and made better. That there is another way to do something. An optimistic outlook is one that focuses on possibilities and potential. Developing a positive attitude about failure is crucial, because innovation is dead without a willingness to fail. A key component of this is fostering what Carol Dweck calls a “Growth Mindset”. This is when people believe that through hard work and dedication they can improve on their basic skills and abilities. It’s the belief that learning and growth are possible (Dweck, 2006). 


Is “respecting oneself while understanding and accepting one’s strengths and weaknesses. Self-Regard is often associated with feelings of inner strength and self-confidence.” (MHS, 2011). Brené Brown (2010) famously said: “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change”. Innovation and bringing new thoughts and ideas to the table requires courage and confidence. It requires a willingness to take risks and embrace failure. Essentially, it requires a healthy view of yourself. Team members with healthy self-regard won’t see failure as final or as an indication of their worth, which in turn fosters creativity and a willingness to risk making mistakes in the name of growth. 

Problem Solving

Is the “ability to find solutions to problems in situations where emotions are involved and to understand how emotions impact on decision making” (MHS, 2011).  Developing your teams’ problem solving skills, in conjunction with their optimism will help foster creative solution finding and equip them to think differently. A key component of innovation is collaborative problem solving. In a team context, it’s important to find ways to counter hierarchy and extrovert domination. Often the best ideas come from unexpected places. It isn’t always the most experienced or loudest who come up with creative solutions. Being creative in the way that you meet and share ideas is crucial if you want to foster an environment where your team feels safe to make mistakes.