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As a review of Professor Adam Grant's new book Give and Take points out, managing risk is one of the most important capabilities innovators need to succeed. Though the stereotypical innovator or entrepreneur is a risk seeing riverboat gambler, the reality, at least for successful innovators and entrepreneurs, is that they are constantly seeking to manage, eliminate or mitigate risk.

In a way, this is simply common sense. One of the criteria of success for the successful innovator or entrepreneur is to have built an established business. Almost by definition, the established business is less risky than the idea that may one day serve as the foundation for an established business. So, to get from the idea to success, the innovator needs to intelligently manage risk in order to build value.

There is an important lesson here for boards of established companies and non-profits. One of the board's core functions is to monitor and manage risk. While at first blush this may seem to be an exercise in box checking or a mere compliance task, in reality it is core to turning innovation into value. Boards need to understand the nature of the innovations that their organizations are incubating, nurturing, relying upon and ultimately phasing out in order to intelligently reduce the risk around them at all of those stages of their lifecycle.

Gaining that deeper level of understanding takes time and commitment on the part of the board and the executive team, but it can unlock a tremendous amount of value for the organization. At iBoardrooms, we support boards and organizational leaders who want to make their companies or non-profits into engines of innovation. We do that by making board portal software that gets the administrative details out of everyone's way so that board members and executives have the time to spend on core strategic issues like managing innovation. Give us a try today.

Mar 8, 2016 4:39 am EST