Last week I listened to Creativity 101 on the ABC Podcast This Working Life. Widely acclaimed creativity and innovation guru Sir Ken Robinson was being interviewed. 

One of things that makes Sir Ken Robinson shake his head is how many organisations don’t do creativity and innovation well. He opined that it was because being creative by its nature has uncertain outcomes and hence is risky. 

He went on to tell of the time he was working with Professor Harry Kroto who won a Nobel Prize for Chemistry. He asked him how many of his experiments failed. Kroto answered about 90%, if not more. 

Kroto went on to explain that failure is not the right word. What you are doing is discovering what doesn’t work. And hopefully, sooner than later, you find what does work. 

The learned Sir Ken went on to say that organisations needed to accept failure but define their risk tolerance. 

I could not agree more. I have been talking about creative leaders who are willing to experiment to find a way forward for more years than I can think to remember. So here is my frustration. 

Why don’t organisations express their risk tolerance for experimentation? Surely we can determine some really transformative KPIs and KRIs to both guide the type of experimentation and put some early indicators of risk around it. 

Yes, it is challenging. But doing the hard-smart work that others won’t is the secret to success! 

While I have you, I am running free breakfasts this year on what it takes to be a persuasive adviser. Just a small group of 10 or so of us. Some of me giving my views and plenty of the room sharing their challenges and how they go about being persuasive. If you would like to come to one, please register your interest here.


Bryan's new book teaches you practical methods to cut through with your advice and make the impact you want to make. Available on Amazon or order here now.


Available on Amazon or order here now.

Bryan Whitefield works with strategic leaders across all sectors to help organisations harness uncertainty – uncertainty is the strategic leader’s best friend. He is the author of DECIDE: How to Manage the Risk in Your Decision Making and Winning Conversations: How to turn red tape into blue ribbon. He is the designer of the Risk Culture: Build Your Tribe of Advocates Program for support functions and the Persuasive Adviser Program for internal advisers. Both can be booked individually or in-house. For more information about Bryan, please click here.

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