As a kid, I really enjoyed the stories about how the earliest explorers would set out for the new world, frequently returning whenever the water got a bit rough. Then, once they finally reached the other side of the ocean, they would literally tread water for a while until they could locate the perfect landing spot, only turning back if they met the slightest bit of a resistance.
Wait, that’s not how you remember it?
Most companies’ approach to innovation is equally uninspiring. Worse yet, it just doesn’t work.
Far too many aren’t playing to win but, instead, are playing not to lose.
I worked on a new venture where whenever we met with the CEO he spent most of the time talking about ways to mitigate risk rather than on what we could do to improve our likelihood for success.
“We’ll spend the money on marketing once we know that there is consumer demand.”
“We’ll put dedicated resources on the team once we get a few stores open.”
“We’ll start talking about this with the press once we know we are committed to rolling it out.”
Needless to say, this particular idea now languishes as an also-ran amidst more committed competition.
This is not a call to be reckless. But if you are signing up for a strategy where best case you finish third, I have to ask “why bother?”
You can do better. We can do better. What better time than now?