When was the last time you were wrong about something? Did you tell anyone about it? Probably you didn’t as people tend to be afraid of being wrong. We most likely avoid it whenever possible and if we ever notice we’re wrong, we try everything not to be revealed.
Constant fear of being wrong can be very harmful, because this usually results in a lack of creativity. However, today’s world is craving for creativity. Thus, we should try our best to overcome this fear.
Sir Ken Robinson said in his TED Talk presentation that “if you’re not prepared to be wrong, you never come up with anything original”. This presentation is the most viewed TED Talk and as amusing as the clip is, it also raises an important question of the future of human creativity. In his presentation, Robinson explains how the world’s education system squanders the creativity children possess and this results in adults who are not only frightened to be wrong but also afraid of taking chances.
“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you never come up with anything original.” – Sir Ken Robinson
Robinson’s speech got me thinking that how we could increase this childlike creativity and courage to take chances in organizations and also how people could get over the fear of being wrong. One simple way for organizations to do that is to support and encourage creativity and enable the employees to be creative.
We at Nordic Business Forum support creative thinking by organizing #NBFinnovations days to perk up creativity inside the organization. The idea for innovation days is adapted from FedEx Day concept by Australian software company Atlassian. Simply the idea behind #NBFinnovations day is to give the employees an opportunity to choose any project they’re interested in to work with for the day and at the end of the day the ideas are presented to the whole team.
For me the innovation days have taught that creativity requires us to leave the self-judgment and fear behind. It is far more important to give the idea a try than decline it before you’ve even started it. However, it is very easy to start thinking that this idea is not good enough or that I might be going all wrong with this. No-one says it is easy to come up with something original in a day, but being creative doesn’t mean you need to come up with the most exciting new thing that revolutionizes the entire world. Creativity can also start with small steps.
As Dr. R. Keith Sawyer, an American expert on creativity, says “behind every great idea is a zigzag path, driven along by literally hundreds of small ideas”. So next time you get a small idea, I encourage you to write it down. This makes it easier to process the idea further. You can even draw a mind-map if it suits you better. But most importantly, give the idea a chance and don’t let your fear of mistakes or being wrong block your creativity, because that one small idea can grow into something very big one day. After all, making mistakes is part of learning.
About the writer: Anniina works as a communications professional at Nordic Business Forum. She is a firm believer that people need challenges in order to grow.