If aversion to risk is a main barrier to innovation it’s easy to presume it is so even more to Co-innovation. But risk, as any other feeling, has two dimensions: the real risk, and the perceived one. Nothing to say about the first one. Just fools or adrenaline junkies like the risk for the shake of it. But, what can we do about the second one? It’s a case of something “not real”, just perceived, affecting our possibilities of doing something with a real positive outcome.
Psychologists have long time ago created methods and therapies to get over all kinds of fears and phobias. These therapies are more or less successful or not depending on every different context and patient. But besides mental disorders and considering normal day to day fears, we all have experimented the big difference in our perception the first time we face something we are afraid of and what we feel once we have already confront it several times.
Most of us remember like a nightmare the first time we had to talk in public or get into a car and start driving on the street. Practice has been the main recipe to reduce significantly our sweating and heartbeat rate when confronting situations we fear. And for the very first practice, we probably looked for a safer environment than the one we had to finally confront. For instance, using a car simulator and later driving with an instructor by secondary streets or roads with not traffic, or rehearsing first our speech in front of friends and family.
There are not psychologists for organizations. Maybe because it is difficult enough to change mental barriers in a person, trying to change cultural or “psychological” barriers for more that two people at the time makes it exponentially harder, a “mission impossible”. But a good simple idea is to try to apply the same kind of approach we all know and used: getting started in a safer context.
This is what this interesting post in Innocentive’s blog propose when confronting open innovation: do it first safer starting at home.