Smart bets and creative risks

Smart bets and creative risks

There is a well-known story about an ingenious group of crows that take creative risks by making smart bets. The carrion crows work along busy city streets, making the stoplights and traffic work for them. The crows carry walnuts and other hard to crack nuts, and drop them right where cars will pass and crush them. When the light turns red, they pick up their winnings and fly away.


Birds have used gravity to their advantage for centuries, such as dropping clams from great heights onto rocks, but in this instance, the addition of a human and vehicular element to it raises the game, as well as the success factor. Scientists believe that this new way of working was born of social necessity for growth, not a physical need for food. In the same way that the birds needed to make a literal leap toward evolution, an enterprise must make a smart bet.


Normally, we think of a big bet as a big risk but this is a paradox that creativity is able to break through. You can have the big outcome without the big risk. Traditional leadership says you must trade-off between one and the other. What seems like a very risky move can actually be creatively engineered to be mitigated if it fails.

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Creative leaders present risky moves to teams as a dilemma that needs to be solved. By making it a nut to crack, it becomes a stimulant for shared creativity. #creativerisks #smartbets #creativeleadership Click To Tweet

Creative leadership here requires a bold directive for your team: present the risky move as a dilemma that needs to be solved. By carving it into a puzzle, or a nut to crack, it becomes a huge stimulant for shared creativity: give the team a challenge, and watch human ingenuity take flight.

Just like wild crows use the city to their advantage, enterprises must also learn to make smart bets.

To discover how the THNK Executive Leadership Program can help you further develop your potential leadership ability, visit the program page.