risk and fear

By November 18, 2010Leadership

As anyone who invests in the stock market knows, greater risk equals greater potential.  That potential could be a huge return or a colossal failure.  To minimize the potential for loss, one would by necessity reduce the risk involved.

Take this same concept and apply it to innovation.

Truly innovative people and businesses understand that to achieve greater levels of creativity requires a high tolerance for risk.  As John Ortberg once wrote, to walk on water one must get out of the boat.  This involves risk.  You might sink!  The product you launch might fail.  Your illustration might bomb.

Attached to risk is fear.  We are afraid of what we don’t know or don’t understand.  We are afraid of failing.  So what do some folks do?  To reduce fear, they reduce risk.  It’s natural.  But it’s not the best route to innovation.

Safety and creativity don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand.  It’s not that we throw caution to the wind and do something we know is utterly stupid and dangerous; but there are times when we step out of the boat not seeing where our foot might land.