Friday, April 27, 2012

Sorry, I am innovating

There's been a lot of talking about innovation recently. If one pays attention to newspapers, social media, magazines or directives' strategies for the immediate future, innovation is on everyone's lips. The reason is quite evident, being this particular decade one of the most unstable periods ─astonishingly rich in technological development, though. Besides investments to promote different thinking, huge efforts are made to communicate the message that committing an error is as good as having a brilliant idea.

There's a beautiful latin proverb saying: "The wise man learns from the mistakes of others, the fool has to learn from his own". But if one listens to Einstein saying: “Learning is experience. Everything else is just information.”, you just don't know what to do, whether pretend not to commit errors and feel ashamed when it happens, or start adopting a relaxed, practical and empirical attitude, often a good approach to obtain visible results in the shortest time. Too much resources spent on papers, planning and meeting, just to discover later that reality is the scenario against which it is always better to develop an idea, can be frustrating.

Anyway, the message I want to convey in this post is that if you happen to live in the tolerant world of innovators or, on the contrary, if your routine won't leave you huge margins to try and fail, sooner or later you will probably end up disappointing someone. Your boss, your manager, a client, a friend or even your spouse.

Being lucky enough to work in an innovative environment, a mistake should appear as an added value to culture, especially if one is trying something really new. A mistake shouldn't really look like a failure, but just research and development oriented to shift current conditions to improved ones (in terms of income, quality, savings or whatever value you might think of). In this case there are probably margins to go on with experimentations and not feel obliged to say: "Sorry".

If you think you can be free enough to develop your ideas but at the same time you are constantly living scared of committing mistakes, just reconsider what you are doing, probably there's not plenty of space for innovation in your environment. The innovator should never, according to my opinion, feel like saying: "Sorry" (although it's always an elegant and polite way to communicate that you are conscious that your actions need certain improvements). Take care, this has nothing to do with pride. It's just a matter of feeling real environmental open-mindedness, leading to regard errors and mistakes as part of the whole innovative process.

Now, if you are being unfaithful to your spouse don't tell her/him: "Sorry, I am innovating", because I am pretty sure it won't work.