Risk: An Essential Ingredient to Innovation

This week I am reading "The Pixar Touch," which gives a detailed history of the company. One great nugget:

"The odysseys of… Pixar as a whole, bring to mind the observation of the maverick economist Joseph Schumpeter that successful innovation "is a feat not of intellect, but of will." Writing about the psychology of entrepreneurs in the early twentieth century, a time when the subject was unfashionable, he believed few individuals are prepared for "the resistances and uncertainties incident to doing what has not been done before." Those who braved the risk of failure did so out of noneconomic as well as economic motives, among them "the joy of creating, of getting things done, or simply of exercising one’s energy and ingenuity." In Pixar’s care, at least, the resistances and uncertainties were abundant – as was the will."

Thinking about this, and looking around at successful companies and products, I keep coming back to some essential ingredients:

Risk, Fear, and Failure.

Yes, life is sweeter if you can avoid them, but to pursue innovative ideas, you will likely be knee deep in all three. I think this video explains it best:

Click me to watch the video!

Fear of failure is likely the biggest impediment to innovation, and as the video illustrates, failure is simply a part of the process of success.

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