Innovation is often seen as the driving force behind progress, the engine that drives society and business forward. But a fundamental aspect of innovation that is often overlooked is the idea that just because something isn’t wrong, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right.
In this text, we explore the paradox of innovation and how avoiding the “wrong” path may not always lead to the “right” outcome.
The natural intuition of logical reasoning can be dangerous to innovation
In our quest for innovation, we often find ourselves trapped in the framework of logical reasoning. We resort to phrases like “We’ve tried something similar before, and it didn’t work,” or “We’ve never done it this way, so it probably won’t work.” These logical arguments are meant to avoid risks and complications, but do they lead to innovation?
Statements like “We need to decide on a structured way of doing things and stick to it”, are not necessarily wrong, but are they right?
The safe way
Choosing not to take risks or taking the safe route is a common response to the fear of failure. It protects us from liability because not taking action can rarely be seen as a mistake. But does the safe road ever lead to remarkable innovation? Choosing safety is not wrong, but is it right?
The lack of risk taking
Avoiding risk is synonymous with choosing the safe path. But an unwillingness to embrace risks means that you can never stand up for a genuinely good idea. Innovation often requires the courage to be seen as unconventional, even if it invites scrutiny. Not taking the risk of failure is not wrong, but is it right?
Innovation by its very nature involves dealing with uncertainty. Those who have a high need for control and are uncomfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty often struggle to innovate. But can we achieve true innovation if we shun uncertainty and ambiguity? Dispelling uncertainty quickly isn’t wrong, but is it right?
When confronted with complexity, we tend to simplify by delimiting certain parts. This simplification can make things more manageable, but it can also lead to missed opportunities for innovation. Removing the parts that make things difficult to understand is not wrong, but is it right?
Fear of conflict
Conflict avoidance is ingrained in our nature, but we often forget the difference between a conflict and a difference of opinion. Innovation often thrives on different perspectives and disagreement. Avoiding conflict is not wrong, but is it right to avoid disagreement if we strive for innovation?
During hectic times, we naturally seek comfort and peace. However, an excessive pursuit of comfort and safety may not promote innovation. Constantly striving to enter the comfort zone is not wrong, but is it right when our goal is innovation?
The power of imagination
Imagination often gives birth to unthinkable and unconventional ideas. Although it is easy to ridicule and dismiss imagination, it is sometimes more important than knowledge in finding new solutions. Refraining from playfulness and imagination is not wrong, but is it right when seeking innovation?
Innovation is often a complex and multifaceted journey, often fringed with paradoxes. One of the main paradoxes is that the idea of avoiding mistakes and choosing the safe, comfortable and logical path is not an idea that necessarily leads to real innovation. In order to innovate, we sometimes need to embrace risk, uncertainty, complexity, conflict and imagination, even if they seem wrong at first glance.
In the world of innovation, our ambition to avoid mistakes does not guarantee that it will be right. Innovation challenges our perceptions of what sounds and feels right and accepting that pushes us to think beyond the conventional.
So remember: just because something isn’t wrong doesn’t mean it’s right.