Guest Post

Only People Who Sleep Don’t Take Risks

by Mark Thompson
10/12/2009

Have you ever heard of people who are against innovation? Of course not! It's a sexy thing to talk about. So why is it that most companies cannot innovate? If everybody's supposedly in favor of it, why can't nine out of 10 companies do it?

As Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of IKEA and, according to Forbes, the fourth richest person in the world, told me: "There are many people who don't like to take risks. When something goes wrong, everyone is eager to blame one another. But only people who sleep don't take risks. There are few people on earth who have made as many mistakes as me. But it's a question of having the possibility to correct the mistake you have made. At IKEA, we're always allowed to make mistakes and we do. Too many, everyday."

Here are two really important points to take away from what Ingvar Kamprad said:

BLAME KILLS INNOVATION: You have to make it safe for your people to innovate. Too often when people have failures, they get criticized. People learn really quickly that you didn't truly want them to innovate if their every attempt that fails is punished.

THE ENVIRONMENT ALWAYS WINS: When we create an environment where experiments take place, where there's a whole process, procedure and reward system for innovation — lots of small wins and losses — that's exactly what we get from our people.

So take risks, be creative, and kill the blame game if you really want your team to innovate. As the 80-year old entrepreneur himself insists: "Without fiascos, you will never succeed!"

Watch Mark Thompson's interview with Ingvar Kamprad at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIx9BlPX0Qo

Mark Thompson is a keynote speaker, bestselling author, investor and Chief Customer Experience Officer, LeaderPowerTools.com

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