Innovators Risk Management

Are you a fan of risk management? Not many of us are. If you concentrate on risk management, chances are that the risk register is long and you end up spending time, oh so precious time, away from the positive things that keep you going.

It is smart, wise and responsible to be well prepared in case things to go wrong one day. But there is a tendency that the prediction you make becomes the reality. When you focus on the risk, all you see and talk about is things going wrong. However, when lessons from previous projects are been learned the likelihood that your current work will outperform increases. So how to do that? Risk analysis matrix? Mitigation and remedial actions? A big and nasty process? Sure. We should have those in a excel somewhere…

One thing to understand about “lessons learned” is that it is not a task to accomplish as itself. It is not a list, register or document. It is always personalised and very human learning. Remember your past mistakes. And don’t repeat those again. Perhaps as a bonus you might want to ensure that others would not do those mistakes either because you work in a team. And if others have had things go wrong, you would very much like to learn from their mistakes too, to be able to dodge those bullets in slow motion view as they come. Proper lessons learned means changes in behaviour. If behaviour does not change lessons have not been learned.

The funny part is that we all see these risks coming at us. In fact we, as innovators are supposed to take risks. If not, we would not be working with research & development or new product development for very long. It is always risky. That is fundamental definition of change in projects. It is not safe, and the world will not be the same if you succeed. In best cases it is a win-win-win, where you, your customers and your partners all end up better off.

In innovation projects, making the dreams come true, you have to take a huge risk and manage that risk every day to ensure that things do not go wrong. Risk taking is the innovators task so you might say that things should go wrong but you just have to cope with it.