Daily Drucker Series:Innovation and Risk Taking

Daily Drucker: Managing for the Future
March 5, 2018
Daily Drucker Series: Creating a True Whole
March 7, 2018
Dont take risks, Hunt for opportunities and catch them. There is nothing like entrepreneurs personality: they are not risk-takers but opportunity-hunters.
Successful innovators are conservative

I once attended a university symposium on entrepreneurship at which a number of psychologists spoke. Although their papers disagreed on everything else, they all talked about an “entrepreneurial personality” which was characterized by a “propensity for risk taking”. A well known and successful innovator and entrepreneur who had built a process-based innovation into a substantial worldwide business in the space of twenty-five years was then asked to comment. He said: “I find myself baffled by your papers. I think I know as many successful innovators and entrepreneurs as anyone, beginning with myself. I have never come accross an ‘entrepreneurial personality’. The successful ones I know all have, however, one thing – and only one thing – in common: they are not ‘risk takers’. They try to define the risks they have to take and to minimize them as much as possible. Otherwise none of us could have succeeded”. 

This jibes with my own experience. I, too, know a good many successful entrepreneurs. Not one of them has a “propensity for risk taking”. Most successful innovators in real life are colorless figures, and much more likely to spend hours on cash flow projections than to dash off looking for “risks”. They are not “risk-focussed”; they are “opportunity-focused.
ACTION POINT: Determine which of your ideas presents the least risk and the most opportunity and focus on them.
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