The Big Bad “R” Word

August 1, 2008

Risk is a huge factor when it comes to innovation. How you view risk will define how likely you are to be innovative.

There is a certain mindset that the most innovative people in the business world take on. That mindset involves taking risks, making mistakes, and not being afraid to be different and stand out. It is not a popular mindset, but then again, the life of an innovator is an uncommon one.

The mass media and other “noise” has distorted our view of the world by overplaying the idea that mistakes are bad. Most people in business will tell you that the company that they work for demands risk minimization to avoid making mistakes at all costs. This is because a company that makes a mistake is “trashed” in the news, and further scrutinized for other decisions they have made or will make. And most times, the scrutiny will be directed to the top of the organization, no matter what level the mistakes are made at.

Therefore, CEO’s and department heads are less likely to allow any mistakes to be made, even ones that move the company forward. To be innovative, you must be willing to risk your neck a little. You must be willing to do things that no one else is doing, which can sometimes lead to mistakes and slip ups. But without the desire and ability to try these things, how will you ever be able to move forward. I found an interesting blog on “Mistake Policies” that is a good read.

Instead of viewing risk as a bad thing, view it as a necessary part of success. Approach it with the thought that taking risks will lead to further development of the company at all levels. Much more on this to come…