Are we too afraid to innovate? – Harvard Business Review

Are you in an environment where innovation is imperative but failure and risks are punished? How can we truly innovate when we’re afraid of the consequences? To have the freedom to test new ideas, failure must be embraced as part of the innovation process. Fail quicker, learn faster:

“The trick is to remember that those who experiment must also fail. And unless we protect them from the consequences of this failure, people will stall. They may talk a good game. They may participate in all those brainstorms. But the real world of innovation will remain undone”

Afraid to Innovate? Create an Airlock – Grant McCracken – Harvard Business Review.

How to celebrate Leap Day literally

Let’s pretend, just for a moment,  what would happen if “Leap Day” branded itself, hired a marketing team and became known around the world as a “magical extra day dedicated to taking leaps, jumps, risks and chances”.

Sure, some TV shows may make fun (I’m looking at you beloved “30 Rock”), but what a day this could be: a day dedicated to all the things we wanted to do, but were too scared and so many of the experiences we’d like to have but kept putting off or piling the excuses on instead.

If taking risks and chances were celebrated and encouraged, or even mandated,  instead of feared… what leaps would you make?

Yes, sometimes these leaps are forced upon us, and when this happens we don’t often want a “leap day” to remind us that we should really be taking more chances.

Maybe instead, what we need are reminders about all of the great, unexpected, sometimes challenging, yet always rewarding learning experiences that come from taking leaps. If we can change our mindset, we have the power to accept, encourage and embrace leaps and change.

If this could become our mindset, I’d vote for Leap Day to be celebrated every year, or every month, or even every day.

When we leap, we can choose to focus on what could go wrong, or what could go right. When we leap and don’t know where we are headed, we can learn to embrace the unknown, respect it, and yes, even enjoy it.

After all, change is necessary.  Complete control is impossible. Our happiness, and perhaps our success as individuals and as companies depends on our ability to make friends with the unknown.

Celebrate leap day. Use your instincts, trust, patience and hard work to navigate the uncertainty and the feeling of risk, no matter how small. I can tell you… you’ll face the next day stronger, smarter, more confident, and yes, a day older.