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Navigate Unchartered Waters: Embracing Ambiguity and Uncertainty in Innovation

August 17, 2016

Leaders are taught to set goals, announce plans, and recognize success in order to foster progress and growth. Yet when it comes to innovation, things aren’t nearly as linear as this model suggests—making it difficult to cope if you’re not willing to adapt to the uncertainty that innovation generates. 

In order to embrace the ambiguity found in such unchartered waters and still reap benefits along the way, keep the following guidelines in mind:

Uncover Potential

Innovation’s flexibility allows you to throw off the constraints that pigeonhole your company and product, prohibiting the flow of creativity and exploration. Opportunities for growth often exist outside-the-box. To explore these, you must think on a broader scale, recognizing potential and being open to needs that the uncertainty uncovers.

Get Perspective 

The free-flowing process of innovation involves problem solving—allowing the uncertainty of ambiguity to exist as you seek out moments of clarity. Pinpointing problem areas highlights the ‘why’ behind their existence. If you rush through the uncertainty and try to innovate without this perspective, you will never advance. 

Embrace Process 

Only through trial-and-error can you reflect on outcomes and adapt innovations for success. By accepting and encouraging exploration, and creating space for embracing the discomfort of uncertainty, you allow the cyclical innovative process to thrive without restraint.