The Matrix Thinker: Personality Profile of an Innovator

Software Advice recently published The Matrix Thinker—one of the personality profiles identified in the Psychological Profiles of the Dream Team. The series analyzes top employees based on research they developed with a workforce psychologist. Successful teams require a balanced mix of performers that can play to their strengths. Being able to identify the best people for the right roles and gauge their preferred management styles will allow you to craft your own Dream Team.

Who Is a Matrix Thinker?

Characteristics of a Matrix Thinker include creativity, independence and problem-solving skills. Some of their weak spots include teamwork and commitment.

Matrix Thinkers don’t just “think outside the box.” They think about why the box is there and how the box could be designed better. The way that Matrix Thinkers absorb information all around them can lead them to revolutionary ideas. At their best, they think clearly and can synthesize all of the information they take in. Although they may have piles of paperwork on their seemingly disorganized desks, there is order to the chaos—they have a system that works for them. Poorly-functioning Matrix Thinkers, however, can become confused and may even find themselves diagnosed with ADHD.


Matrix Thinkers have some key traits that make them great:

  • Problem-solving. Their ability to think in an abstract way helps them solving complex problems. They often find totally new ways to meet objectives.
  • Creativity. They tend to be artistically expressive and can take inspiration from unexpected places. This can lead them to develop innovative ideas.
  • Vision. Matrix Thinkers can be trailblazers. They’re confident in their own interpretations and methods—and sometimes, this can lead them to create new products and processes.


Some of the unique obstacles for a Matrix Thinker include:

  • Interference. Because Matrix Thinkers are always taking information in from all over, they can become easily distracted. They might begin many projects without finishing any.
  • Conflict. Matrix Thinkers may have come into conflict with people at home or work. Some may find it difficult to work in an established corporate structure.
  • TMI. Too much information! Matrix Thinkers can get overwhelmed by all the information they take in, get overwhelmed and power down. It’s common that they put a lot of time and energy into a project and then leave it unfinished.

Best Roles

Matrix Thinkers do well in a variety of jobs, but they really shine in creative and leadership roles:

  • Creative. They enjoy the freedoms that less-structured roles give them because they are better able to express their natural creativity. This makes them great designers, content writers and artists.
  • CEO. Matrix Thinkers who have a good handle on their communication skills and have the confidence to prove their groundbreaking ideas can rise to the ranks of CEO. They can be truly visionary leaders.
  • Project-oriented. Matrix Thinkers feel stifled if they have to do routine work every day and perform best when they can work on a variety of projects.

The Matrix Thinker is an essential member of the Dream Team who brings in fresh ideas that push the boundaries of “business as usual”.

To learn more about famous Matrix Thinkers like Thomas Edison and Steve Jobs, how to identify these innovative types during interviews and which management styles work best for them, read the in-depth profile on The New Talent Times.