“Security is mostly a superstition.
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”
Some of the most notable creative people in the world share one hallmark. They are risk takers. But, the problem with taking risks is the naysayers that surround them. Being a creative thinker is risky business. In every business, every not-for-profit, every organization, including the government, the military and more, balancing this risk with innovation is tricky.
As humans, we have aspirations to innovate. Our children need to learn, so we invent better ways to teach them. We are compelled to compete, so we need innovative thinking to pull ahead of the competition. We need to innovate, but in such a way that it doesn’t hurt us in the long run.
Innovation and creativity carry many risks. If Thomas Edison was still alive, he would speak at length about the necessity of taking risks. In his lifetime, when he was asked about the many failed attempts to invent the light bulb he said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Here are some ways to manage your risk:
- Identify What You’re Trying to Accomplish – Exactly what is it you are trying to do? Is it well defined? Is it something you have the power to change?
- Take the 360 Degree View – What are the facts? Who is involved? Are they a stakeholder? What is the overall mission? What has been tried before? What is going on now? Be specific.
- Reframe the Problem – After examining the problem, look at it and choose the most important facts. Reframe the problem using language that gives it the most accurate representation.
- Brainstorm Ideas – Don’t be stingy; anything goes! Ask other people who aren’t close to the problem for ideas. You might be surprised by what they have to say.
- Combine Ideas for Potential Solutions – Pick your favorite ideas and then put them into categories. Make sure to label each category with an appropriate title.
- Break Solutions into an Action Plan – An idea is only as good as its effectiveness. So, what are you going to do in the next five minutes? And tomorrow? And next week? It’s important to have a plan to keep your momentum.
The largest part of tackling creative risk is to break it into manageable portions. Think of them as idea hors d’oeuvres. Not a full meal, just tapas. Try a little of this and a little of that. There is less to lose when you buy a tapas as opposed to an entrée.
Rebecca Reilly, M.S. January Guest Blogger for Innovation Espresso.