Risky innovation?

John W Lewis's picture
Chat Date: 
Thu, Jul 07, 2016

What is the relationship between innovation and risk? What are the parallels and paradoxes?

There are links between risk and safety, and risk and reward. But what about risk and innovation?

Attitude to risk

One view is that being comfortable with taking risks enables people and organizations to be more innovative.

Another view is that people and organisation fail through not being innovative, in other words they run a bigger risk by not innovating.

Are these two views equivalent or are they opposites?

Types of risk

Are different kinds of risks involved? Small versus large risks. Short term versus long term risks. Risks that we are comfortable with versus risks that we are uncomfortable with.

How do we reconcile potentially conflicting perspectives of the relationship been innovation and our attitude to risks of different kinds?

Based on the paradox that "the biggest risk is not to take any [risk]", perhaps the most important issue is the relationship between our perception of a risk and the reality of that risk.


Let's discuss "Risky innovation?" during #innochat on Twitter on July 7th at 12 noon Eastern time guided by the following questions:

  1. What is your view of the relationship between innovation and risk?
  2. How does our perception of the risk of innovation differ from the reality?
  3. How can we provide safety nets to enable innovation with lower risk?
  4. When and how can we maintain a balance between short term and long term risk?
  5. Effective innovation involves an element of deferred gratification? Discuss!


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