Criticism is Critical to Innovation

by Paul Gladen

Seth Godin highlights why the fear of criticism is an innovation killer:

“Watch a few people get criticized for being innovative and it’s pretty easy to persuade yourself that the very same thing will happen to you if you’re not careful.”

But Seth goes on to point out that if you’re not being criticised then your probably not creating something remarkable enough to be innovative.

So if your trying to break new ground with your products, services or operations, expect criticism, celebrate it as a sign that you have something different. If it’s constructive criticism, listen to it, evaluate it and where appropriate act on it, but not to the point that your innovation ends up being safe. As Seth has said before – “safe is risky” (or words to that effect).

Of course while criticism is an indicator that what you’re doing is different, it doesn’t mean you are guaranteed success. Innovation is risky, many ideas will fail and you’ll have to face the same critics saying “I told you so”. But learn from your failure and try to get the critics fired up again. One day you’ll have the satisfaction of proving them wrong and reaping the rewards of success (while the critics will find they are not only wrong but most probably irrelevant).

Paul Gladen

About Paul Gladen
Paul is Founder and President of Muzeview Research. He has over 20 years of professional services experience, including 14 years across audit and business consulting with Arthur Andersen.

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