“If you don’t believe in your idea, why would anyone else?” 

-@gcouros                                                       

1. Being Questioned:

There is comfort in knowing that if you are not stepping outside of your comfort zone, that you are less likely to have people question what you are doing.  Do something new, it will draw attention, guaranteed. Our brain is wired to look for patterns and if we see someone stepping out of the “pattern” or traditional practice it stands out. Thus, if you want to be innovative you will need to be ready to answer the big question: why?

Preparing yourself mentally to having your work questioned isn’t always easy and if we are honest, if you are really innovating, you have no idea if your idea will work. So we ask ourselves, ‘is it worth it?’ Sometimes the answer is no, so we stay in our comfort zone and average becomes ok. The kicker is that if people are questioning your work, there is a good chance you are the right path to something innovative. Keep going!

2. Risk of the Unknown

Lets look at why you love your “comfort zone.” It is a known to you, it is familiar arena, there is little chance of a surprise, and more often than not it is predictable. Who wouldn’t want this? It makes for a good work environment and something we strive for, however, there is little chance that innovation will be sparked out of this environment. Truly innovative ideas come from breaking into the unknown and taking a risk. It is a fact that producing something new means you can fail, it means you can be rejected and that you may have put a great deal of effort into something that did not work.  Yet, working in that space where there may not be guarantees, where there is risk,  spawns opportunities for you to learn and to stretch yourself.

3. New=Threatening

New equals change, period. Change is a loss for someone. Even the most innovate ideas will disrupt the way someone is doing their work. Your new idea or way of doing something may put you in a place to be the new expert and someone else a beginner and that can be threatening. Then you add the risk, the unknown and other aspects previously mentioned and it can be a really menacing proposition. Stay on target. As @gcouros points out in his book #InnovatorsMindset “when thinking about moving forward, focusing on the question, ‘What is best for learners?’ helps ensure your’re making the right decision.” While we know that promoting something new may ruffle some feathers and meet resistance, we keep going because we stay on target with our organizational goals and not continually working towards improvement is not an option.

4. Safe to Fail

Failing Safely. This is where the magic happens, but it is also where you need to have the put most work put in. Creating an environment where your coworkers feel safe to fail takes faith, trust, and have the expectation that they will not be punished for trying and these are things not easily gained. Furthermore, there needs to be an understanding that exploration is encouraged and failure is a very real outcome. However, it is also expected that you reflect, you review and try again. Nearly all great pieces of innovate work came from a number of failures and allowing yourself to learn from your mistakes.

The key to all of this is one of the key characteristics of the #InnovatorsMindset: Resiliency.

5. Fail forward

I’ve always held the position, that if we try and fail, worst case we are right back where we started. Now while this may not always be the case, however it is what I believe and will support those willing to be brave and step out and innovate. I found this quote resonating with me, “As you push the edges of the norm with your innovative ideas, hold onto your conviction and passion” -@gcouros He also notes the resilience is learned behavior; this is true. We can very much try, fail and give up and that is the end. You may not have any beacon to point the way or research to guide you. It comes down to your personal belief and having the wherewithal to keep going, to reflect and find some knowledge from your failure, you fail forward. You take the small wins (even if that is just learning what not to do) and move on.