What is an innophobic? It is a person who is so afraid of innovation that they won't even try.
Have you ever noticed that when someone asks you to do something that you’ve never tried before; you immediately start hearing voices in our head trying to convince you that you can’t do it? It happens to everyone.
When it comes to innovation, this self-doubt seems to get magnified. It’s as if the size of the perceived risk becomes a multiplier to the amount of self-doubt we can conjure up. The analogy I use is walking across a 4×4 beam. If you set the beam flat on the floor, there is no issue. You easily walk across the beam. Now place that same beam 30’ in the air. All of sudden the perceived risk starts creating a mountain of self-doubt. What if you were to fall?
In the case of innovation, what if you were to fail? It is scary but you don't need to be afraid of innovation.
As I’ve said a 1000 times – the ability to be innovative is not a special gift some people are born with. It’s a skill that can be learned and practiced (just like walking across the beam). And if you dedicate yourself to the practice part, you can become an Olympic caliber innovator.
At each of my talks, I’ve offered up a challenge. Give me two hours with an innophobic, no matter how strong their fear is, and they will walk away with a new level of confidence in their ability to be an innovator.
For the first time, I’m going to make the same offer to readers of the blog.
I can’t do it for everyone so here is what I will do. If you’re being held back because of self-doubt on your personal ability to innovate, then send me a brief email that describes:
- Why you doubt your ability to be innovative.
- What would be the impact on your career, family, and business if you could be more innovative?
I will select 2 or 3 of the people who submit the most interesting email and mentor them 1:1 for 2 hours each. In-person if they are based in Silicon Valley or by Skype if they are remote.
In the end, I will invite them to write a blog post on what they discovered about themselves and their new outlook on innovation.