A year of experimentation, by Paul Kaye



Paul Kaye

By Paul Kaye

PSR Contributor

Tuesday January 17th, 2016


A year of experimentation

This is your invite to 2017; the year of experimentation.

As we start the New Year, lots of people get caught up in the excitement of proclaiming resolutions for the year ahead. I have always sucked at sticking to them! So, instead of a resolution this year I have decided to extend an invitation to myself and to you…

I was inspired to offer the invitation after stumbling upon these thoughts from Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia. This is how he describes his approach to innovation.

“If I get an idea I immediately take a step forward and see how that feels. If that feels good I take another step. If it feels bad I take a step back. It’s a different approach from people with a scientific point of view who think everything out to the nth degree before they make a move. I learn by just doing.”

Those remarks really landed with me.  I guess they spoke directly to the impatient creator in me.

As we focus ourselves again this year to deepen our engagement with audiences and find new solutions for our customers, I want to extend an invite to you – an invite for you to experiment. To just do. To try. To not over think. To give it a shot.  To have a go. To take a chance. To see what happens. 

It’s been said before and I don’t think it has ever been more important. We’re now living in an Idea Economy where success is defined by the ability to turn ideas into value faster than your competition. It’s not enough to have great ideas but we need to be quick in realizing them.

This year let’s challenge ourselves to dream more, to play more and to test drive more ideas. Big ideas or small ideas – size doesn’t matter. When you have an idea that could make our listener or customer experience better the invitation is for you to take a step forward and see how it feels. After all you can always take a step back if it doesn’t feel right.

Let’s commit to experimenting. Let’s believe in the notion of trial and error. We can only get improve – ourselves and our business – and find innovative approaches that work if we actually try things. If we test our hypothesis. Let’s willingly adopt the mentality of the crazy scientist; you know the one who is hell bent on making a transformational breakthrough so much so that he just keeps tinkering with ideas in his laboratory. Day after day. Night after night. Looking for that eureka moment.

Isaac Newton’s first law of motion stated that “a body at rest tends to stay at rest; a body in motion tends to stay in motion.” Newton was talking about objects but surely it’s the same for us as individuals, as teams and as radio stations? If we are doing nothing we will always do nothing and therefore achieve nothing. The opposite must also be true, if we step forward and do things then we will build a culture of stepping forward and doing things.  We need that type of constant movement to change things for the better.

Innovation is a process. A process centered around experimentation. It’s a journey of trying, failing, learning and refining. We learn by doing things. To be innovative and to lead the pack we need to move to action. Too often we hide behind building resilient plans. We debate and concede. We overthink. But not this year – let’s make a commitment that his year we will learn by doing not debating.

It’s better to try and fail than to never try at all!

Wouldn’t it be great to look back in 12 month’s time and say to ourselves “wow look at all the things we tried?”

Who’s with me? Let’s go…


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