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POPin Blog

Outrageous Risk

Hard to resist, but one rainy Saturday, we were pulled into a weekend binge-watching session of “Outrageous Acts of Science.” With episodes dedicated to homemade inventions, human guinea pigs, nature obsessed thrillers and pure danger junkies the team of scientists deconstruct and explain how each action in the clip worked, how risky it was, and above all exactly why it shouldn’t be tried at home. It’s crazy, it’s obsessive, it’s mind-boggling and we highly recommend it. Why? Because we find those human powered flying machines in Canada, space explorers in the UK, backwards talking girls in the US and the New Zealander that built a robot rock band oddly inspiring. Again, why? Because these risk takers clearly have tapped into the “riot within” – sparks, flashes, when inspiration struck like a bolt out of the blue, they acted and persevered. These moments are mystifying too, as they usually materialize abruptly, without warning and seemingly out of thin air. But after that “eureka” moment, what makes someone go to those extremes? We’re not scientists, and we’re certainly not psychologists, but it makes us wonder why they do what they do. Some of the motivations for taking risks are obvious—financial reward, fame, political gain, saving lives. Many people willingly expose themselves to varying degrees of risk in their pursuit of such goals. But as the danger increases, the number of people willing to go forward shrinks, until the only ones who remain are the extreme risk takers, those willing to endanger their reputation, fortune, and life. This is the mystery of risk: What makes some humans willing to jeopardize so much and continue to do so even in the face of dire consequences? But let’s not confuse risk takers with thrill seekers or adrenaline junkies. (Because adrenaline isn’t what motivates to take the risks we’re talking about.) We’re thinking about the person who wants to accomplish something—climb a mountain, start a company, run for office, become a Navy SEAL—that’s driven by motivation and fostered by experimentation. All of which are true in the corporate world as well. By integrating experimentation as a core value, business failures — while still accepted as an inevitable part of risk — can be quick, relatively painless and insightful. POPin was developed with the specific intent to help companies capture the forward-thinking ideas within your organization. It’s really the perfect storm – leveraging your team, their collective creativity for a motivating mix of risk and reward. And yes, you can absolutely try this with your organization!