Many of us resist exercising our imagination, and even more of us don’t trust our imagination enough to act on it. Yet it’s by exploring our ideas and gathering feedback that we’re able to improve them…and it’s not just our imagination that needs frequent testing.
We need to stop stopping ourselves. We’ve been conditioned to suppress our creative impulses and with them our capacity to innovate. When the world was stable and predictable, this may have been adaptive. But none of us lives in that world anymore. We live in a much more dynamic place where we need to constantly learn and unlearn and relearn...
It’s easy for anyone to look back on an idea that has either succeeded or failed and draw conclusions about whether or not it was a good idea to pursue. The harder question is of course, “How does one know before an idea has succeeded or failed whether or not it’s worth pursuing?”
Are you taking personal risks? Is your organization willing to take them? Innovation requires experimentation and experimentation requires that we risk failure. It can be scary but it’s necessary. Otherwise, we’re just confirming (or rationalizing) what we already think we know and that only takes us where we’ve already been.
What would it do to your company to have to ask permission from the government before anything could change? Yet isn’t that what large corporations routinely require of business units and employees? Do you think maybe it has the same effect?