On the quest to producing new and innovative processes and products, many companies are taking a hard look at their culture. These experts say rightfully so. Only when employees have the right environment to feel comfortable making mistakes, offering suggestions and taking several attempts, will innovation thrive.

Innovation is Emotional

Innovation is not just a cognitive process. It’s emotional. It requires doing something new or novel, and that can be scary because it requires the courage to enter the unknown and it involves learning from experimental failures. Many of us learned as children that success comes from making the fewest mistakes. We learned to avoid making mistakes and looking stupid. We also developed emotional defensives to protect our views of ourselves – to protect our ego. Protecting our ego and fear are the two big emotional inhibitors of innovation.

How do we begin to see new things that others don’t see? As importantly, how do we perceive reality more accurately – see what we do not usually see? How do we have the courage to explore the unknown? How do we create something new? We have to overcome our fears of failure in order to iteratively learn. We have to overcome our self-centered views of the world so we can perceive the world as it is not as we believe it is. We must be more open-minded and less emotionally defensive when our views are challenged by others or by new facts. We must reflectively listen in a nonjudgmental manner. And to do all of that, we absolutely have to manage our emotions and be emotionally intelligent about our and others’ emotions since innovation is a team sport.

Read More