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Risk Taking and Innovation, Changing Your Ideas

By Lynn Oucharek - September 14, 2015

If you’re watching the ongoing shifts in the economy, technology and culture you may be feeling a little dizzy.  For some it’s exciting but there are plenty of moments when it can be almost overwhelming.

You can tell it’s impacting the way you make decisions, and your organization  has no choice but to keep shifting and adjusting along side of your plans. 

The question is how do you not only keep up with the evolution around you but more importantly lead with outstanding ideas and solutions that have people both inside and outside of your company engaged and taking notice of what you’re doing next?

It’s tempting to want to put our heads down, work hard and not have to feel uncomfortable by stretching beyond where we normally tread.  As the great thought leader Seth Godin says “ Safe is Risky” in today’s environment, approaching problems the same way which worked in the past maybe the riskiest thing you can do. The truth is it’s also not going to help drive you and your team towards the great work you really want to create.  But where do you start?

My years as part of a top creative “pirate ship” taught me the answer is by increasing risk taking and innovation skills and mindsets for yourself and everyone working with you. In essence empowering those in your organization with practical risk taking and innovation skills to kick start both new ideas and collaborations which then leads to outstanding work and solutions.

While this may sound daunting at first, it doesn’t have to be.

It does require an ongoing individual and organizational practice in risk taking and innovation and building muscles in the areas these both share. Stretching out further with your ideas and actions and working on creating a connected culture leads to bigger collaborations which is at the core of real innovation.

It is not magic or for “special” people but it does mean shifting from a Lone Ranger mentality of problem solving and inviting your team including stakeholders at times, to participate in various ways.

Most people will tell you both innovation and change are messy, but well worth tackling if the alternative is to stay safe and hope for lightning bolts to strike at just the right time.


Here are a few things to start with:

  1. Check that everyone understands your vision and where you’re headed, so ideas and actions are aligned and working toward your top goals and purpose.

  1. Do a Litmus test for connection and collaboration. If your teams haven’t been collaborating well so far are there any elephants that you need to deal with first, or do you need to build connections? Big ideas happen in safe, trusting environments, I can’t stress this enough.  Throwing people into a room to brainstorm is not going to do it.

  1. Begin by sharing great work that is happening outside of your category in meetings and encourage individuals to start a practice of gathering interesting and inspiring work which others are executing from diverse sources   This is the number one habit top creators and innovators have in common. New ideas are not built in a vacuum, what people see and hear daily is impacting your/ their problem solving abilities and your organization’s output directly.

  2. Ensure your teams understand both their own strengths and “superpowers” and those of the people they’re working with, so they are better able to leverage the talents, experience and human potential already under your roof.

If you have put some of these components in play already congratulations, you’re on the path to bigger ideas, outcomes and collaborations that will help you begin to wrangle with what ever happens to be around the next corner.

There are many more practical ways you can begin shifting your organization towards being drivers in change and innovation, stay tuned for the second segment in this three part series on risk taking and innovation for your business.


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