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Creativity Module 9:

Risk Taking

Engineering Class

Background Information:

Creativity involves trying the new, exploring the unknown, and accepting uncertainty and the possibility of failure as well as trying unusual novel ideas–the essence of risk taking. The late Sir Ken Robinson expressed risk taking as follows:: “If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.”(Source: Tyagi et al (2017) demonstrated that individuals who possess a creative personality and mind-set are more likely to take risks exclusively in the social domain.In regard to a corporate setting, Dewett (2004, 2006, 2007)found that creative behavior requires an employee to be willing to take risks in their work and that risk is an important influence on creative behavior. The results of a field study indicate that a willingness to take risks is a significant predictor of employee creativity and, in addition, mediates the relationship between encouragement and creativity. Shen et al (2018) showed that low risk-taking relates to convergent thinking and risk-taking was not significantly correlated with divergent thinking. Furthermore, these results suggest that appropriate reductions in risk-taking can boost convergent thinking. Risk-taking enables and encourages innovation and creativity, which requires taking risks. What is a risk? People should be clear about the term risk and what an actual risk is; namely, to try something without clearly knowing the final outcome. The focus here is on smart risks; that is, being venturesome, daring, exploratory. Failed risks aren't always negative; sometimes, they provide the most valuable lessons one can learn (Beghetto, Karwowski & Reiter-Palmon, 2020;Tyagi et al, 2017;Shen et al, 2018).

Benefits of Risk Taking

  • Unforeseen opportunities may arise.

  • Build confidence and develop new skills.

  • Develop a sense of pride and accomplishment.

  • Learn things you might not otherwise.

  • The chance to actively pursue success.

  • Spurs creativity.

  • Opportunity to create change in your life.

  • Develop emotional resilience.

  • The ability to take calculated risks is actually an essential human trait, crucial to our development as a species and as individuals. Our risk-taking ancestors were the survivors, the daring ones who took chances to adapt to a changing environment. Today, the same principle applies in order to grow, we need to experience challenges and take risks.



Try some of the following risks:

  • Talk to a stranger

  • Speak your mind

  • Stand up to an offensive joke

  • Travel somewhere new

  • Ask for something

  • Break a pattern

  • Try a new type of food

  • Call an old friend

  • Go back to school

  • Start a business

  • Pursue your dream job

  • Learn a new sport

  • Join a support group

  • Tell someone your fears

  • Share your art with someone

  • Tell someone you appreciate them

  • Make a commitment to the person you love

Engage students in the following questions

  • What is a risk?

  • Are risks a good or a bad thing?

  • Give examples where taking a risk has been a good thing to do.

  • Give examples where taking a risk has been a bad thing to do.

  • Describe when you have been forced to take a risk when you didn’t want to.

  • Has anyone been forced to take a risk to help yourself or someone else.

Determine whether your own actions are breaking rules or whether you are taking risks. A rule is a principle or condition that customarily governs behavior. Taking a risk involves doing something with the hope of a favorable outcome.


(Source: Activities1–3 are adapted from the East Renfrewshire Council (n.d.) Scottish Executive Education Department, website

Draw or write about two risks that you have taken in your life. What were the consequences? Would you do them again?



Observe and discuss with colleagues results of this module activities.

Develop a list of pros and conswhenassessing a risk. Think about the upside of change

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