Innovation cannot exist without risk and failure… and without innovation, relevance and significance fade and die. It's a scary tightrope to navigate when life and business continually change. Spencer Johnson said it best in the book, Who Moved My Cheese, "If you don't change you can become extinct."
How do you minimize risk and optimize the rewards?
There is a "safe" strategy to optimize the outcome of your risks and minimize your losses.
1. INTUITION: The great trailblazers and innovators connect with, and trust their intuition in conjunction with the element of planning and analyses (market research in business). The greats just seem to have a knack of knowing when and how to risk and expand their horizons. Intuition is not a blind act built purely on belief, it is your truest sense of knowledge. Intuition and instinct are not synonymous. Instinct is immediate and purely driven by the reptilian brain. Intuition includes your moral compass (values), gut, experience and the subconscious mind combining with your heart to tell you what is best or what is a negative vibe or energy.
Your gut or heart simply know. Modern research is showing that the heart sends more signals to the brain than the other way around. On a holistic level, the heart is connected to the source of universal knowledge. Police detective refer to this as a hunch… something they not only trust, but obey. Design a more promising future by connecting to your intuition. Leverage its power.
2. EVALUATION: Compare and weigh out your best/worst case scenarios. Clearly define and understand the situation and the consequences. Ask such questions as:
How influential will the value of that change be and how will the result impact your business or industry. What can you live with in terms of loss? Take the Blackjack player who takes all aspects into consideration before deciding to stick with what he's been dealt or risk his hand by requesting an additional card. What are the odds that the next card is what is desired?
How much money is at stake and can the player afford to lose that amount.
What do the percentages suggest? If the odds are in your favor, take the risk… consult step 1 to increase the odds.
3. ALIENATION: In terms of pure business, have a pulse on what the market is ready to embrace. If the innovation you are proposing or delivering is too drastic or dramatic, the market might resist regardless of how incredible the innovation is. Take into account how much conviction and resources you have up your sleeve to counter-act consumer alienation. Do you have the time and marketing strategy to subdue market resistance? Timing, packaging and educating the masses play key roles in success or failure.
4. ADAPTATION: Innovation is a progressive journey that demands strategic change and adaptation. The willingness to fail along that journey is a must... there is always a period of incubation and a learning curve to navigate. Risk and innovation require patient nurturing while the product is sculpted.
5. OPTIMIZATION: When you take risks, the objective is to optimize the outcome, minimizing loss or "failure". Innovation offers no guarantees. The risk factor is ultimately based on what you can live with or die for? That is the boundary that confines or liberates you in regards to how far you are willing to elevate the ceiling and stretch minds.
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