Innovation can be your company’s most powerful strategic advantage. The ability to innovate consistently differentiates your organization in a crowded and competitive marketplace, while ensuring that you’re able to bring fresh and profitable concepts to the consumer on a regular basis.
To innovate successfully, you need a constant stream of original ideas – and those can only be generated by taking strategic, calculated, and intelligent risks. Teams simply cannot innovate in an environment that prioritizes safe bets. As such, companies that are focused on innovation and growth need to let go of any risk-aversion within the organization and begin betting on the talent and ingenuity of their employees. They need to commit to taking risks at a very high level – even with a considerable amount of money at stake – because doing so has the potential to reap extraordinary rewards. With that said, here’s how to encourage intelligent risk-taking within your company to drive creativity in business:
1. Establish a culture that embraces risk-taking.
Risk-taking, creativity, and innovation are inherently linked. As such, organizations that strive to drive innovation need to establish a company culture that is built around strategic risk-taking, with all decisions and initiatives operating in support of that mission.
2. Eliminate a fear of failure.
Assure employees that it’s okay to fail. They need to know that risk-taking and acting on bold ideas are valued over being “perfect.” Will some of these bold ideas fail? Absolutely. But that’s okay – and should be encouraged – because failure means they’re stepping outside of their comfort zones and moving towards innovation.
3. Engage leadership in risk-taking initiatives.
The company’s leadership needs to show by example that risk-taking is valued. They should actively invest in opportunities and out-of-the-box ideas to demonstrate to the entire organization that seeking innovation in unprecedented ways is not only encouraged – it’s expected.
4. Give employees the freedom to take risks.
When teams want to do something differently or explore a bold new idea, your company should entertain their vision. Give them the autonomy, time, and resources they need to explore the possibilities and see what unfolds. Doing so not only helps to further establish a company culture of risk-taking – but it may also lead to your next big idea.
Want to learn more about how to be more creative? If so, check out our Innovation Field Guide for step-by-step instructions on increasing your organization’s capacity for consistent innovation.