‘Tis the season to be scary! Halloween is a time for ghosties and ghoulies and things that go bump in the night. It’s also a time for taking on monsters and making them yours; for having fun with your fears.
Innovation is often faced by three main fears; fear of the unknown, fear of change and the fear of failure. So let’s have a look at these fears up close.
Fear of the Unknown
If you are innovating you are going to be stepping into new territory and this takes some people well out of their comfort zone. It’s not necessarily that these people especially like the current situation, but it takes a bit longer for them to adapt to a new one.
Other people are more comfortable with new things than others, so getting them on side can be really helpful in exploring the unknown. Another trick (or treat) is to sandwich any new material in between bits of familiar routine to help accustom people to new ideas faster.
Fear of change
Unlike those above who are just worried about the new and unknown, those who fear change (metathesiophobes) are also reluctant to let go of the old. If you’re introducing a new system or work practice it may be worth identifying what exactly about the old or current system appeals to the ‘phobes.
Starting working with new things can be terrifying, if only because you lose your sense of competence. You knew how the old ways worked, and the disorientation of starting anew can be daunting. It may help to remember how disorientating previous changes have been, and how soon you became accustomed to them.
Fear of failure
Innovation is built on a solid foundation of the failed ideas that went before. If you want innovation, you need to be willing to experiment and to fail. Failure is increasingly being recognised as vital to the processes of Innovation, and that it can be as important to celebrate failure as success. There is even an International Day for Failure (which also happens to be the International day for Natural Disaster Reduction.)
But just because we know it is important, doesn’t mean we are going to want to do it. We’ve all been taught to try to avoid failure, to minimise mistakes and to stick to the tried and tested rather than forge new paths. But these things are part of Innovation and many companies are trying to make risk a more acceptable option. After all, you won’t get anywhere if you are afraid to try.