Why Is Innovation So Hard?

Office life

Reposted from Forbes:

“Our educational system and most work environments have taught us that good performance means avoiding failure, not making mistakes. This is a big problem, because failure is an unavoidable part of innovation experimentation. Innovation requires the willingness to fail and learn. Abraham Maslow, one of the founders of the humanistic psychology movement, aptly stated that an individual would engage in learning only “to the extent he is not crippled by fear and to the extent he feels safe enough to dare.”

This means that in order to innovate we need to change our attitude toward failures and mistakes. Contrary to what many of us have been taught, avoiding failure is not a sign that we’re smart. Being smart is not about knowing all the answers and performing flawlessly. Being smart is knowing what you don’t know, prioritizing what you need to know, and being very good at finding the best evidence-based answers. Being smart requires you to become comfortable saying, “I don’t know.”  It means that you do not identify yourself by your ideas but by whether you are an open-minded, good critical and innovative thinker and learner.

Creating a “big new” or a “big different” for your business requires innovative thinking, and innovative thinking requires the right kind of organizational environment. That is why innovation is so hard.”

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