Bringing creativity and innovation to the insurance sector

5 Dec 2016

“We fear change because we think we might Fail.” David Gonski ANZ Chairman Ci2016.  Transforming a fear of failure into the biggest investment in your future success. 

by Enza Pacetta, Team Leader - Adelaide

I recently attended the Ci2016 conference in Melbourne with a group of my work colleagues. It had nothing to do with insurance and inspired me, as I am sure it did many others, to reframe my thinking about the concept of failure and how it has contributed to our shared success.

We got a glimpse from many of the speakers as to what the future holds in respect of new technology and the race to build the next supercomputer, artificial intelligence, the rise of the robot, and so much more.  At times listening to these stories made me uncomfortable knowing what is in store for us all and what this rapid change means for the future of my children.  However, it also gave me time to think about what the many positive opportunities the future holds for us, and that we need to start preparing now for the changes ahead.

In a room filled with professors, doctors, government workers through to pioneers and innovators trying to make their own difference to the work, there was a common thread to all of the conversations - the fear of failure.

Through their stories, they enlightened us on how they overcame this fear and how we too can do the same and enjoy great success. For me personally, one speaker stood out from the crowd - her thoughts, logic and processes resonated with me, and I wanted to share with you, why.

Patricja Slawuta – Psychologist in Hacking Failure

Patricja explained that in order to be successful and embrace change, we need to “hack our fear of failure.” Our professional brains are shaped by years of learning and interaction with the people around us. As individuals we are capable of reprogramming ourselves to hack fear. To do this, we need the support of our leaders, our teams and the organisations we work for.

Organisations have the opportunity to build a culture whether the concept failure is part of their DNA, to trigger a mindset change that opens up new possibilities.

We do not embrace this enough and on a personal note, I’ll own my position and say, “I FEAR FAILURE!”

With so much pressure of our busy schedules and lifestyles we are programmed to think inside the square. Venturing out of that square is not an option - if our ideas fail, we suffer the consequences.  These consequences for many of us are far reaching and hold us back from reaching our fullest potential.  Constrained by so many rules & regulations at work, we have a fear of pushing through the barriers (real and imagined) and trying new things in case we fail and do not want to feel those emotions of failure. 

This needs to stop now.  We need to let people know failure is ok!

Failure is an attempt at success that shows that you tried your best. If at first you don’t succeed, try again a different way! At least you are doing something and not just following the herd from a place of safety.

Innovation is crucial to continued success.  We need to embrace this and encourage people to face their fears, share their ideas, freely and with a growth mindset.  This is where great, truly remarkable ideas come from. The cost of doing nothing is a lack of progress, at worst, complete stagnation and irrelevance.

Throughout the conference I thought about my team and about the people who lack the confidence because they fear failure.  I will be the first to say that I am one of them.

I am setting a challenge for my team to step outside the square we set for ourselves, in fact make it a triangle and reset the zone completely! Invest in a moment of pure ideas thinking and share ideas no matter what they are from a position of comfort, confidence and safety. 

Make a safe place for the people around you to share their ideas – a place where failure and fear can be parked and where thinking is fast moving, agile and without boundaries.  If the idea is a no-go, move on find another one. 

This is my starting point to bring out the innovators of my team and hopefully as an organisation we can embrace this together.

Let me know how you get on.

Finally, before I sign off, a quote below that I really liked. Food for thought.

 The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” – Joseph Campbell


  • This article was written by Enza Pacetta, Team Leader in our Adelaide branch. AJG is a foundation sponsorship partner of Ci2016 - an event bring global leaders, politicians and creative thinkers together to discuss innovation and creating exponential growth.

  • If you’re interested in seeing more of Patrycja in action, take a look at this video:

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