New ideas inherently carry risk. And there’s often friction between the risk profiles of our ideas and the risk tolerances of our organization. How we navigate and manage that friction impacts what, if anything, makes it through the gauntlet of the innovation process.
Risk tolerance can vary across different parts of the business. Ultimately we need all of these different points of view to sense-check ideas as we collectively bring them to life. All of those different perspectives can make an idea stronger. But silo-thinking often gets in the way.
Years ago, I saw innovation legend Doug Hall lead a workshop on managing risks. He had a few words of advice that stuck with me:
“Meaningfully unique ideas spark fear. Fear causes shut down. The secret to reducing fear is to make the unknown known. We need to turn killer issues into manageable threats”
Here are a few related ideas that I’ve drawn over the years.
“Compromise with Legal” June 2011
“Safe is Risky” July 2014
“Lifecycle of Innovation” November 2002
(Thanks to my old colleague Jon Overlie who first inspired a glass half full cartoon idea years ago).