Friday, November 10, 2006

Innovation and Risk

One of my favorite blogs recently is Slow Leadership. In "You Can't Be Innovative and Risk-averse Too", Carmine Coyote nails it:

Many organizations get risk completely wrong, because they focus entirely on the risk of being wrong. What about the risk of being right—maybe even more right than you ever dreamed? It’s the continual focus on the downside of risk that leads executives to institute whole books of rules to limit their exposure to it, and to punish those who take risks and get them wrong. But much—maybe most—of success in the real world has to do with chance, not design. That’s how evolution works, for example. It puts out changes into the world and sees what happens. What works, survives. What fails, dies. It’s trial and error, not some carefully plotted process of superior design thinking. Hey, if Nature works that way, who are we to say we know better?


Or, if you don't mind me tweaking a soundbite from the 9/11 Commission Report: "Imagination of failure leads to failure of imagination."

Closing words go to Carmine:

You don’t encourage innovation and creativity by talking about them. You get them only when you make it quite clear that the real “crime” in business is stagnation and a dull mind, not making honest mistakes.

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