if you innovate, evaluate

The Risks of Innovation, and the Importance of Monitoring

You have a choice. You can carry on, or you can innovate. I’m not going to say, “You MUST innovate! The world is changing so rapidly, innovate or DIE!” No. If things are going well, maybe you can get by with carrying on. Carrying on is efficient. It’s a great way to save money and other resources. Maybe over time you’ve worked out a system, and the system is working out. Monitor it, sure. Likely you’ll do well to introduce some corrections and improvements along the way. Innovation is costly and risky. Don’t do it if you don’t have to. If you can get by through carrying on, or through making some corrections and improvements along the way, great.

Innovation means coming up with something new. An innovation is like an invention. Inventing something new, that works well, is not easy. But the payoff can be enormous. Your organization is not going to experience a dynamic explosion of expansion through carrying on. Through innovating, it might. But innovation is a high-risk/high-reward proposition. It’s new, so by definition you don’t know if it’s going to work or not. You don’t know if it’s going to work modestly or work spectacularly. You don’t know if it’s going to work well, but also have distracting or fatal flaws.

So don’t innovate without monitoring. Don’t innovate without keeping very careful track, very astute track, of performance. Innovation is exciting. Scary, but also exciting. Don’t get caught up in the excitement in a way that distracts you from calm, clear-minded evaluation. Or you might find yourself in deep, and drown before you know it.

love, joy, peace … Michael

www.michaeljaffarian.com. Michael is a freelance consultant to nonprofits, with an emphasis on research. Contact him for a free, one-hour consultation. emichaeljaffarian@gmail.com.

Vol. 1 No. 9

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