Risk creativity, innovative, innovation, change management, Synectics, creative process

George M. Prince, Founder of Synectics

By George M. Prince

Great achievers and great organizations thrive in environments that allow and promote risk taking. The challenge for trainers is, then, how to create a risk-taking environment, and this is a difficult task to accomplish.

Risk is something that a sensible, prudent person seeks to reduce, or avoid, especially as it relates to their livelihood. It is a word that carries the connotation of danger and injury.

Webster defines risk as: “The possibility of loss, injury, disadvantage, or destruction.”

Theoretically, I believe it would be useful to change the concept of risk to one of experimentalism and innovation. The connotation is then one of learning rather than one of danger and loss. Webster defines experimental as: “An act or operation carried out to discover some unknown principle or effect or to test, establish or illustrate some suggested or known truth.”

This definition is easily related to learning, an activity most of us applaud (and some of us seek). Thus, an experiment is really no more than learning a new way to do something. Based on this theory, I would retitle the trainer’s challenge from “how to create a risk-taking environment” to “how to create an experiment-oriented environment.”

A desirable experiment-oriented environment is one where people believe they have the freedom, in fact, the mandate, from their employers to experiment and to discover ways to improve the operation.

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