Are You Willing To Take The Risk To Innovate?

Chris Kalaboukis
3 min readJun 19, 2022

One of the steps that follow “facing the future” and “feeling empowered to change yourself or your organization to build your ideal future” in the Foresight Leadership curriculum that I teach is “feeling empowered to change yourself or your organization to design your ideal future.” Most people and organizations are generally pretty risk-averse, mainly if they have been doing something that “works” up to this point.

They can keep up a certain life quality; perhaps they have a respectable job; perhaps their company is doing alright; perhaps, even though they believe they could be doing better, they opt not to take the chance since the outcome of the gamble is a mystery.

The knowns almost always emerge victorious when pitted against the unknowns in a conflict. The knowns do not present a risk. If you stick with what you already know, you won’t ever get fired. Remember the age-old saying, “Nobody gets fired for buying IBM.”

The lesson to be learned from this experience is that it is better to play it safe. Or is it?

When you go to a new restaurant and have no idea what to order, what question do you typically ask the wait staff? It’s highly possible that they’ll ask, “What’s the item on the menu that sells the most?” You follow the herd, you go with the flow because “if most people think X, X is definitely good,” but doing so can be a mistake because “most people think X is probably good.”

So, I decided to do an experiment. I asked, “what is the LEAST popular thing on the menu,” rather than “what is the most popular thing on the menu,” because I already knew the answer. In most cases, this causes the server to be taken aback. That is one query that is never, ever asked. They typically need some time to think about it before coming up with a suggestion, but eventually, they do.

You won’t believe this, but the dinner is FANTASTIC nine times out of 10. I often find myself wondering why there aren’t more people who do this. In the end, what do you have to lose, and what is the very worst thing that may happen? If it turns out to be wrong, you can send it back or write it off as a valuable experience; in any case, all you’ve lost is the price of a meal. (If you do decide to give it a shot, don’t do it in a fancy five-star…