We don’t just encourage risk taking at our offices: we demand failure. If you’re not failing every now and then, you’re probably not advancing. Mistakes are the predecessors to both innovation and success, so it is important to celebrate mistakes as a central component of any culture. This kind of culture can only be created by example — it won’t work if it’s forced or contrived.
About a year ago, the company I work for made an effort to spark innovation. And while I’m sure a few good ideas percolated up to the top, the problem is all the ideas generated are placed into a review group to pick and choose ones to follow, which ultimately leads to only accepting the safe and obvious stuff. That’s really not innovative, and really does nothing to promote risk taking or enable failure, and thus learning.
Take some risks. Fail at things. Be better for it. It’s just like taking the effort to practice so that you get better for the future.