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Mans reach and grasp.

We were not born as risk-takers but we can develop it through our own growing self-actualization, creativity, a pursuit for growth and enjoying that feeling of being stretched.

Well some of us do, but sadly most tend to become risk-avoiding because of the environment they are in or been associated with for long periods, where avoidance rubs off, it seeps into the soul. Many enjoy being simply ‘passive’, avoiding anything that smacks of being ‘proactive’; it is safer to be ‘reactive’. Innovation and heaven can equally wait.

Putting it simply most people and organizations are just afraid to take risks and this fear takes over and drives their choices. Innovation is certainly something that suffers from this fear of risk.

Organizations miss critical opportunities, individuals fail to speak out and argue for a given change or innovative idea. We can simply stop growing, to want to become something more, we take the easy option, we avoid risk.

Reducing innovation to the lowest common denominator.


How often have you felt all the risk-mitigation has been taken out of the innovation concept you have been working upon, for it to emerge as a pale reflection of the original idea? Often I can hear.

We need to be reminded that innovation is the act (risk taking) of introducing something new (creativity) that adds potential value. By reducing the risk we often do not produce something better, just simply an alternative to what is already out there.

Minimise the risk, strive for certainty, avoid the awkward questions, just keep the head down and toe the line.

Our organizations talk about the need for risk but don’t walk the risk path.


The understanding of risk will always have associated with some fear, discomfort and resistance and that can be an uncomfortable place to go. The whole ‘act’ of letting go is never easy. It is the ability to manage risk that reduces its fear. It is through experimentation we gain our best learning, we actually are forward learning as we are accelerating our knowledge.

Surely the more we attempt something different, proving or disproving it makes for exciting work, we become motivated, curious and wanting more, providing there is the encouraging environment to experiment and explore.

Innovation is risk-taking so let’s embrace it, not just for the sake of taking risks where you can become addicted to the thrill but in constantly seeing the positive payoff within the risk, it needs being appropriate and set against the ‘given’ situation and the learning in potential loss but recognizing the potential in gain.

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1 Comment

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  1. Tonja Erismann

    So true!

    In an environment geared towards efficiency innovation is inconvenient, as it means consciously taking a risk at failing (what % of  ideas actually end up a success?)

    BUT: no innovation = stagnation = no business.

    (0) 

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