October 2022

The key role of risk in an innovation culture

Our CEO asks: Do you have an innovation culture within your organisation?

Put it another way: how do you encourage a culture that involves vision and risk-taking?

A recent survey found 82% of energy executives say innovation is critical to their organisation’s success in the next three years. But less than half of them have an active innovation strategy.

The focus on innovation is evident - it’s the execution that isn’t.

So how do we promote innovation as a core business activity?


Innovation needs vision and commitment. As we push the boundaries of what is possible into the realm of what could be possible, the concept is key.

You may not yet know whether the idea is achievable or how to bring it to life, but successful innovation needs that vision – and a willingness to commit the time and effort.

At MDL, we support these visionaries: companies that are eager to innovate and improve the way things are done. They know that bringing a concept successfully to life is what will give them the edge in the market.

And at its core, innovation needs an understanding of risk.

Risk is inherently scary on its own but, as I’ve said before, the innovators are those who recognise the risks, take a view on them, and understand how they can be mitigated.

You manage risk in an intelligent way. If it is truly something ground-breaking and new, choose a partner with a proven track record in delivering comparable projects.

Someone with visualisation capability that lets you assess the technology in action before the commitment to build.

Now, who would that sound like...?

We work with visionaries and we know from experience that the leap of faith seems less daunting when you’ve investigated the potential points of failure. You can make an informed decision that balances risk and reward.

Those who don’t grasp change are choosing the risk-free path but they’re also closing the door on huge potential savings.

Efficiency and savings can be measured in many ways - in saving time, saving effort, saving money. All these help us do everything we can to reduce the carbon footprints in all our operations as we move towards a net zero world.


Everyone brings a unique set of knowledge and skills to the table. Working together and embracing these differences gives birth to new ideas through the blending of unique skillsets.

So, remove the image of boffins innovating in isolation from your mind. Replace it with smart, creative partners sharing knowledge and expertise to reach the ideal solution.

Mitigate the risk by including a larger group of actors. If you can create joint ownership and promote a culture of creative thinking, a more rounded and comprehensive solution can be reached.

So, it is possible to promote innovation as a core business activity. If we understand the importance - and value - of vision, risk-taking and a joint approach, we can create an innovation culture.

Get the right people round the table and great things can – and do – happen.

For some real-life examples, head over to our Innovation Spotlight page.

Derek Smith, CEO