5 Ways Risk-Averse Thinking Can Lead to Successful Innovation

Holding a lightbulb.

Risk is often considered a crucial aspect of innovation, but it is not necessarily what drives success. Research shows an aversion to risk can spark creativity.

In his book, Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, Adam Grant discusses how those who are not risk-takers can drive progress. Grant’s findings revealed original people are not “big risk-takers.” Rather than leaping before they look, many innovators carefully plan for their successes.

Though innovators believe in their creations, they feel doubt and fear about the possible outcomes. They recognize there is something to learn from every experience, and see their lack of risk-taking as an opportunity. Here are five ways risk-averse thinking can lead to success.

Encourage Random Conversations Within Your organization

Set aside time to talk to people within your organization. Learn about their jobs and ask them for ideas about improving processes within the organization. You may even get new product ideas.

Talking to people gives you an opportunity to find out what is working and what is not. It allows you to plan for future innovations and involve employees from different departments.

Do Your Research

Taking risks can result in failure, but with the right research, this can be avoided. Weight the pros and cons of the risk you want to take, and consider all the factors involved.

Collect ideas and discuss their viability with your team. Gather information from your team members about why some ideas work and others do not.

Focus on Company Values

When developing an innovation strategy, focus on the values of your organization. Understand who you serve, and concentrate on ideas that will improve your products and services.

Focusing on values promotes free-thinking. It creates an atmosphere where employees are free to express thoughts and new ideas.

New ideas introduce new ways of thinking. Diverse experiences contribute to innovation and offer various perspectives.

Create a Culture of Trust

Trust is crucial within an organization. Leaders should trust employees to make sound decisions. This is where all conversations should be grounded.

Conversely, employees need to know they can trust leaders to make good on promises. For example, if a team manager offers incentives for certain expectations, those promises need to be carried out. Download Creative Rewards to Incentivize Engagement for ideas on implementing incentives.

That culture of trust should be present on teams. Members will feel more inclined to share opinions and ideas if they trust one another, and will work together in a more creative fashion.

Test New Ideas

A successful innovation strategy will include idea testing. This helps you figure out which ideas to continue honing and which to eliminate altogether.

Bring employees from different departments to get their feedback. Input is crucial, and can positively impact the outcome.

Testing helps you consider the risks involved in implementing an idea. It enables you to plan for alternatives and come up with other options.

Keep in mind innovation is about disrupting the norm. Research shows 80% of executives believe disruption will occur in their businesses in the near future. If you are among them, careful planning will help minimize the risk while increasing the possibilities.

Are you looking for more creative ways to share ideas within your organization? Get the Innovation Starter Kit.

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