Tactical Innovation: Playing to Win

3393943653_5908499e59_oThe following is a guest post by Estel Maskagna. Estel is a freelance and creative writer whose work has been featured on PreScouter. She writes on subjects covering innovation, green tech, and environmental topics. She is passionate about self-learning and intellectual exploration.


In 1959, chess grandmasters Mikhail Tal and Vasily Smyslov locked mental horns in a now-famous chess battle played in Yugoslavia. Tal, a tactical player, initiated a very strong line of attack against his world champion opponent. While Smyslov defended well, the battle ended when Tal made an audacious sacrifice and delivered a crushing tactical blow to his opponent. Tal’s winning tactical move was awarded a Brilliancy Prize game and made him famous as a chess master.

The difference between the two grandmasters was Smyslov played to finish while Tal played to win. Both were in the game, but one had a definite plan of action to reach his goal of winning. A similar tactical approach can prove to be a game changer in a critical innovation project. Unless one has a tactical approach, a great deal of time, energy, and resources will be lost for nothing.

Just like chess grandmasters, build lines of attack to achieve your goal. This may mean exploring new ideas for advancement or dealing with specific issues that hinder progress. Learn how to play to win in innovation with these tactical steps.

-See and plan ahead. Tactical players foresee difficulties as well as opportunities even as they are engaged in the present. They identify possible scenarios that will bring benefit and then maneuver the game towards their desired play. Innovators must also plan and see ahead to gain ground and progress.
-Do not waste advantages. Just like in any game or battle, innovators need to utilize advantages to the maximum. Otherwise it would be lost or worse, gained by the competition, translating to a greater loss to your side.
-Create opportunities. While tactical players and innovators stand alert for any advantages that might come their way, they do not merely wait passively. Tactical innovators also create opportunity with carefully executed moves and course of action.
-Make every move count. Observe how grandmasters play in a high risk, competitive game. They rarely waste a chance to advance their game with every move they make. Indeed, their attack begins right from the first pawn advancement. Even if a move seems senseless to their audience, grandmasters make sure that it will serve a purpose. It might be to distract attention from a developing line of attack or to rescue a valuable piece from possible peril. Or it might simply serve to discombobulate a focused opponent. Whatever the purpose, each move counts and contributes to the attainment of the player’s goal. Innovators also need to make every resource, hour, and effort expended to count towards their ultimate goal.
-Build on your success. Just as chess masters do not win a game in a single brilliant move, it is also important for innovators to build on their small successes. Each advantage gained should lead to another and strengthen one’s game overall. Building on one’s success and progress fits into the general tactical approach that leads to achieving one’s goal.
-Don’t lose momentum. Holly Green in Prescouter Journal says, “Today’s markets reward boldness, so dare to take risks. Look for opportunities that offer huge upsides with minimal downside, and outline ways to mitigate or minimize the risks.” This doesn’t mean that you have to lose momentum if you make a mistake, however. “Get comfortable with a certain amount of failure, because when you take risks you will fail some of the time. When you do fail, fail fast and learn from your mistakes.” Don’t let one or a couple of mistakes set you back for the whole game. Learn from it, recalibrate, and plunge ahead for the win.

Prime your innovation game with a tactical approach and play to win!

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