Thoughts on Life & Leadership

A Junto Strategy Project

Risky Business

Risk or Reward

“The very nature of innovation means that we have to introduce risk.”

Last week, I had the chance to speak to a group about innovation. One of the things I like to do during speaking engagements is turn the tables a bit during the Q&A part of my sessions. Once the group is done asking their questions, I take a turn and ask them some questions. I like to start with the simple question of “What was your biggest aha or learning today?”

These brief reverse Q&A sessions usually end up being some of the best time we spend together, because I often great some great nuggets of wisdom from the attendees. Last week was no exception.

As we went around the room, a lawyer raised his hand and shared this nugget:

“I appreciated your insight on risk and ambiguity. As an attorney, I’m often giving advice on risk and I’ll tell clients – ‘I can reduce your risk to ZERO, but I’ll kill your business.'”

I thought, “What a perfect mini-lesson on innovation.”

One of the “5 Lessons on Innovation” I share during the seminar is that an innovator needs to get comfortable with risk and ambiguity. The very nature of innovation means that we have to introduce risk. Sure, we can eliminate risk, but in so doing we eliminate the possibility of innovation and progress.

This doesn’t mean we have to take bad risks or act blindly. Rather it means we keep in mind that scale in our minds that as I seek to eliminate risk, I am giving up some of the rewards of innovation.

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This entry was posted on January 20, 2016 by in innovation, Leadership, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , .

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