Albert Einstein was a keen sailor. He didn’t know how to swim. Why would one of the world’s greatest minds choose to routinely put himself in perilous situations? As this article explores, it was because he liked to experience risk. Picasso was another renowned risk taker.
There’s a strong correlation between creativity and risk. Danger pushes us to think creatively. Just look at the technological leaps we made between 1939 and 1945.
When a person does something truly creative, that in itself is a risk. They pull an amorphous idea out of their frail, feeble human mind, and put it on the page, screen, wall or whatever. It might not work. It might be ridiculed. It might waste time and money with no reward. Few of us are willing to let ourselves become this vulnerable. I believe we should champion those who are. After all, a computer algorithm can’t come up with an idea as wonderful as Honda’s ‘Cog’, or one that stirs our emotions like Guinness’ horses galloping in the surf.
Our creatives make stuff in their spare time: photographs, paintings, films, textile art and stories. It’s a deliberate hiring tactic, to go for the person who’s passionate about whatever they get up to at the weekend over the more experienced person who checks their creative brain on their way out the door.
Creatives need to be able to fail. It might sound counter-intuitive, but we want 10% of our team’s ideas to suck. We have a big appetite for creative risk. We know that this means we might occasionally get it wrong, and have to start again. But without taking risks, we’ll never be able to get it really right.