Risk and Creativity – how are they connected?
There are some fundamentals of Creativity that most people are aware of:
- trying something new
- exploring the unknown
- accepting uncertainty
- absorbing the possibility of failure
- embracing ambiguity
Additionally, there are the potential business benefits of adopting Creativity, such as:
- fueling strategy
- prioritising innovation
- promoting growth
And what about the less visible business benefits of embracing creativity? Benefits that will support your team in their move away from machine-led predictable tasks and into managing risks and delivering growth in an uncertain future?
Creativity by its very nature requires individuals to speak up, to share their opinions, to challenge and help develop the approaches of others. Creativity requires teams to sketch out or brainstorm ideas, which in turn provides a platform to venture into the unknown and the untested. This naturally develops links with risk.
Creativity is the willingness to consider and trial ideas outside of the limits of current conventional thought, acknowledging that test and trial don’t always produce successful results. And history has shown us that risking failure is often where real transformational change occurs.
However, risk-taking can often feel uncomfortable, humans are commonly fearful of making mistakes. In the late Sir Ken Robinson’s celebrated TED talk, he outlines the social origins of our human desire to be risk averse, to avoid being ‘wrong’. Even the development of new ideas (a vital component of organisational progress) can seem risky, representing disturbances in routine, relationships, power balance, and job security.
So, what’s the backstop? How can we develop appetites towards Risk? Start by fostering a culture of Creativity:
- create a familiar, risk-free environment for individuals and teams to test ideas
- simulate existing and future realities, then schedule regular mandated ‘thinking and tinkering’ time to think creatively around optimization
- regularly practice 3 x what-if’s – what would happen if…; what would we change if…; what would we do if…
- support Managers in their ability to grant autonomy, providing their teams with the freedom to decide how to complete individual tasks and team initiatives
- outline the variables that are controllable, then ensure that relevant safety and risk protocols are fit for purpose
Embracing and encouraging a culture of Creativity is likely to reduce the fear associated with Risk and create a more positive mindset towards it. How might this support your organisation to deliver growth? How might a culture that’s more tolerant of risk help you to outperform your competitors?
Get creative and let us know where it leads you!