The Fear of Innovation: What’s holding you back?

The Fear of Innovation: What’s holding you back?

Contributor: Katie Karpinski

Just because Halloween 2017 has come and gone, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t some spooks and scares still lurking about! We’ve already discussed some common fears of leadership (Check out that blog here) but another common fear facing professionals today is the fear of innovation. Innovation has become a key success factor for any business. With increased access to technology and high customer expectations, firms are not expected to simply maintain standards but constantly improve them. Can you imagine if Amazon didn’t introduce Amazon Prime? Or if Apple never released the iPhone? Both of these launches were fueled by innovative leaders.

So why are people so hesitant to incorporate more innovation in their own business? It all comes back to two of the most basic human fears: Change and Failure.

Change and failure are undoubtedly the two biggest hurtles people need to overcome time and time again. Unless you’re a fearless risk-taker who is 100% confident in every decision they make (if this applies to anyone reading this, please give me a call—I’d love to know your secret), these fears are extremely common not only in the business sector but simply in life. You see, with any change comes the element of risk; and risk brings the potential for failure. For instance, if I decide to change laundry detergents there’s a chance (risk) that I won’t like the new detergent (failure). While a rather simplistic example, it illustrates the common thinking of many business owners, managers, and executives: why change a good thing?

The truth is, being stagnant doesn’t work in this market anymore. If you’re not improving, you’re deteriorating. It’s important to adopt a mindset of innovative thinking to remain at the top of our competitive game. I know this is easier said than done; like I already said—change and failure aren’t easy to overcome. However, by reframing the way you think about problems and solutions you can begin to conquer these fears.

Try thinking of change as opportunity, and think of failure as a chance to learn. See where your ideas take you!