If you ask anyone on the ITK team (or really most people I work with), they’ll tell you I am always sharing articles. I recently came across this article about one person’s progression from sweeping floors to executive leadership, and instead of just emailing it to some friends I thought I’d write about it for the ITK blog.

The article appeared in Inc magazine, and it’s titled This Kombucha CEO Hired a Man Who Spoke No English. He Is Now a Company Executive. It’s a terrific story about solving problems and working together – two big themes of Team Toolkit’s work.

The article is a great example of how having the right attitude can take you far in life. However, I really enjoyed imagining this gentleman’s humility, curiosity, desire to learn, and develop mastery as he progressed through different areas within the company. The CEO’s comment about generalist vs. expert and how despite not having a laundry list of degrees, this employee is always the first to solve a problem made so much sense! Openness and diversity in thought and experience are such important elements of solving problems and practicing innovation.

Team Toolkit thinks about this stuff a lot, and we’re always exploring ways to better understand it. At a recent event, we took a post-it poll asking, “What makes a good problem solver or innovator?” Our high-school intern, Niomi Martinez, turned the poll results into this mindmap.

We’d love to hear what you think – Anything missing from the list? Anything you agree with? Disagree with? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!