Friday, April 8, 2011

Politics Kill Innovation - Risk Aversion

The second reason politics will kill innovation is due to Risk Aversion.  This one is easy to understand as all of us whether we are pushing the envelope a little or a lot have encountered a scenario where risk hurt our chances for driving change.  Risk aversion is something that is actually in many people's DNA.  It is simply a factor that is built differently in all of us.  The most important thing is to recognize when you and the person in front of you have a differing sense of risk.  If you can begin to recognize when the issue is sitting in front of you, you will be able to get better prepared to handle this situation.  Below are a few things to realize around what could happen in a risk aversion scenario so you can think a few steps ahead of your fearful opponent.

They have been influenced:  Be wary of this.  Many times we believe we have the cat in the bag (because those who like the change fight don't see risk) only to find out your sponsor changes their mind.  This could be simply a third party who you can't see has been messing in your innovation kitchen.  Think about the person you want to get on board and then think about who else could be lurking in the wings reminding them that their passion for your idea is really foolish.  Forgetting who is around the person you are trying to influence is a surefire way to get blindsided by the fear of change.

They have a boss who is afraid of it:  This is a little easier to deal with as there is only one person to be aware of.  In this case, however, the road block is much more serious because they can stop things dead and for good.  Always consider who is the decision maker behind the client is before you engage in your quest.

They fear the risk of innovation:  Most of these principles make sense and are actually pretty obvious, but getting granular can also help you analyze your failures when you go back in for more.  Sometimes it is just your client who is afraid.  And if they are the doorway to your idea getting life, you need to know it and think about how to deal with it.  Let's face people who see risk more than you will definitely fear what you believe is a perfectly sane plan. 

They have had a bad experience:  There are cases however, where the bad taste of innovation still sits on their tongue.  They have been hurt by trying before and won't get hurt again.  If you are not connected to your partner's history, you might misinterpret their NO for something far more difficult...the scars of trying.  We have all had it and as we all make decision using either gut, data or experience, we cannot ignore how experience can stop new ideas before they started.

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