As some argue that we have reached the golden age of innovation, Greg Ip’s recent article for the Wall Street Journal, The Economy’s Hidden Problem: We’re Out of Big Ideas, draws our attention to some remaining bright spots of innovation – autonomous driving, healthcare, artificial intelligence. As the first in a five-part series on innovation, the article points to our unwillingness to accept risk as a key barrier holding us back.
I do not believe we are out of big ideas, but I do believe that we need to shift the way we create and allow for new ideas to be imagined and take shape. Innovation cannot simply be summoned. It requires a process and alignment from the highest levels of an organization to come to fruition. Even more importantly, it requires the freedom for trial and error – room to test, fail, learn and most importantly: repeat.
According to our recent research, we found that about half of leaders believe that a culture of risk taking is important to foster innovation in the company, but only seven percent expressed that their company invests in exciting ideas regardless of their viability. We must not be afraid to take risks – American innovation requires it.
A culture of innovation needs to be evident in action, not just word and policy. People need to feel supported to experiment and take a risk. In my experience, the organizations that are successful in innovation have developed a culture that embraces this mindset.
How does your organization approach risk?