An Innovator has an Obligation to… Risk!

by Kim Chandler McDonald

Editor’s note: we invite you to Kim Chandler McDonald’s weekly interactive forum — to read and collect your comments on “An Innovator has an Obligation to…” We hope you’ll join the conversation!

Week 20 theme is “Risk”

If, as George Carlin said, “An artist has an obligation to be en route.” Please complete this sentence: An innovator has an obligation to…

– Convince others to take the risks that true innovation requires. Dave Lull, Information Architect / User Experience Architect at Sears Holdings Corporation

– Take risks and change the status quo! Larissa Lara Reis, Organizational Development Consultant at Banco Santander

– An innovator should be more like a program manager. When new ideas come to the forefront, they must be controlled as a new program would.  Team commitments, risk management and control, and even testing will take an innovation further forward that a mere ‘here it is’ mentality approach. Jason Sissung, Field Service Representative at General Atomics Aeronautical Systems

Additional Quotes from Chapter 2, ‘The state of the nation addressed: Taking stock of how things stack upInnovation: How Innovators Think, Act and Change Our World

“Many of our forefathers were chased onto the boat from Europe because it was the debtor’s prison or go to the US.  We didn’t want to recreate that environment here, so there’s a much higher threshold for failure.  Not abusive failure, not somebody who’s stealing.  But somebody who works hard and takes a risk, and through no fault of their own – the read the market wrong or somebody else got to the marketplace before them – that failure, in a place like Silicon Valley, is actually a badge of honour.” Richard Boly, Founder of Bethesda Visual Creatives, Former Director of the Office of e-Diplomacy at the US Department of State, leader in trans-national entrepreneurial ecosystems such as Mind the Bridge and a highly regarded supporter of international innovation and innovators.

“Certain nations are – I believe to their detriment in the innovation stakes – renowned for the risk aversion of their populations. Though it is, admittedly, difficult to legislate, governments that encourage their citizens to take calculated risks are more likely to have innovations to hand upon which economies can flourish. Innovators constantly face the likelihood of failure. The fact that they move forward in the face of this Sisyphean situation, which sees them repeatedly guiding their innovations up the steep hill of potential while aware that they could just as easily roll back and crush them, is what separates them from the ‘would haves’ and ‘could haves’.” (Excerpt from the author’s Chapter 1 introductory essay)

If you would like to ‘have your say’, feel free to join in by sharing your thoughts below, and on the Innovation Excellence LinkedIn group forum!

You can also explore past themes, such as: Play, Create, Think, Challenge, Improve, Fail, Address Need, Share, Question, Communicate, Be Open, Journey, Be Strategic, Implement, Develop, be Agile and Adaptable, Learn, Dream and Start!

image credit: Kim Chandler McDonald

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  • Kim Chandler McDonald is author of Innovation: How Innovators Think, Act and Change Our World (available in print as an industry-first, SmartMark enabled Online Ecosystem). She is Co-Founder of Flat World Navigator at KimmiC, a company specializing in leading edge innovations such as FlatWorld™ – digital technology that empowers end users to easily capture, collaborate and capitalize on ideas, information and knowledge assets.

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