Innovation is like jumping from the ten-metre tower

Ten Meter Tower - a short film from Swedish artists Maximilien van Aertryck and Axel Danielson captures a series of people facing difficult decision of jumping off a ten-meter swimming board into a pool. As the people face the high dive and decide whether to take the leap of faith – or not – a portrait of human doubt emerges.

Anticipation, anxiety, doubt

This ability to overcome cautious impulses with bravery is something that has united and shaped humans through the ages. Those who work with innovation today might recognise these same emotions of anticipation, anxiety, and doubt. Even the most seasoned of leaders become paralysed when’s standing at the edge of the precipice, unable to make the difficult choices that any development project with true innovation potential entail.  

Embracing new realities

Working within this field can often feel like jumping into the abyss. When we drive forward projects with serious potential, we experience a krill in the stomach and simultaneous feelings of anxiety and excitement. Sure – we can spend time thinking it through and rationalising our decisions. But it’s easiest when we take a running jump. When we let go of control for a couple of seconds and free fall with our arms outstretched, we can embrace new opportunities, horizons and realities. Contrary to our gut instinct, we should try to welcome – rather than avoid – this feeling.

Finessing the free fall

This feeling of being on the edge of discovery is one of the biggest joys when working innovation and strategy. Real bravery lies in the fact that we can’t quite know what will happen until we place mind over matter and take that leap of faith. Sometimes it's a perfect tummy tuck – other times we hit the water harder than expected and have to shake it off.  But whether we keep our hands close to our chest or stretch out their arms, the important thing is that we dare to take this leap in the first place.  

Just like jumping from a ten-metre tower, with time and practice our ability to do so will get better. When we don’t know what to do, or where to start, time, energy and resources can easily go to waste. But over time, once we finesse this free fall, we can discover poise and beauty in the process. And one day we plunge into the water as frictionless as the most skilled divers.

Watch the full clip here!