Igniting Innovation: Tips, Sparks and Ideas for Acting on Innovation

What’s Your Innovation Fear?

Posted by David Lafkas on Aug 9, 2016 10:00:00 AM

We all have fears. 

Some are rational, some are not. 

Some drive us to action, some freeze us into stagnation.

When innovating, one must drive out fear in oneself and one’s team.  It is Innovation Fearsonly through reducing fear that we can drive the action forward and to success.

Which of the following fears is the biggest for you and your team, and what could you do to reduce each to help your innovation?

Atelophobia – fear of not being good enough or imperfection. 

Allow yourself or your team to “fail.”  None of us get it right the first time.  Remember learning to ride a bike?  You fall - a lot.  You get scratched up.  But, you get back up on that bike and start balancing and pedaling again.  Same in innovating.  When you or your team falls short of what you had hoped, share that learning with the team and together pivot and improve so next time is better.  And then celebrate that failure so everyone understands that is OK and something that should happen.

Decidophobia – fear of making decisions.

Start with small decisions, or break the big decisions into smaller bite-sized decisions that can be made.  If it is a member of your team that can’t make decisions, sit with them and explain your reasoning on decisions you make and show how your decisions are not always perfect.  Show them where to look to learn more about the subject so they can make a more informed decision.  And then allow them to make some smaller decisions first (even when you already know what you think is best), and respect the decision that they make.

Numerophobia - fear of numbers.

Numbers are a crux of any innovation.  If an innovation is not going to make money or make a measurable improvement, why do it?  This often means that some numbers must be played with.  And as with any phobia, turn any of those number calculations into smaller bite-sized parts that can be worked on so the overall numbers are not so scary and soon success will be seen with the bite-sized numbers.

Coulrophobia – fear of clowns (not restricted to evil clowns).

Remember when I noted that some fears are rational?

Next time you and your team are confronted by fear in innovating, consider how you can reduce the fear by learning more about the topic and make the fear into smaller pieces that can be dealt with.

Drive out Fear

Topics: innovation, Math, decisions

David Lafkas

Written by David Lafkas

David is Eureka! Ranch’s legal eagle, or more traditionally our patent and trademark authority, not only serving as in-house counsel at Eureka! Ranch, but also evangelizing on the importance of patents in today’s world of innovation to stay ahead of your competition. As an Innovation Engineering Black Belt, David has helped numerous companies develop patentable new products and services. Most recently, he’s supported High Liner Foods in Canada and the US on their comprehensive journey to achieve a culture of innovation as they not only create breakthrough seafood ideas, but also broadly educate employees and implement systems driven innovation across the corporation. David received a biomedical engineering degree from the Rose Hulman Institute of Technology and his juris doctorate from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, the 4th oldest law school in the country. He lives in Cincinnati with his rescue dog, Chauncey.

Welcome to the first blog from the Eureka! Ranch and Innovation Engineering Institute team.  Here you will find a diverse group of innovators dedicated to changing the world by transforming innovation from a random gamble to a reliable system that delivers increased innovation speed and decreased risk.


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