I heard them while attending the HSM World Innovation Forum in New York City.
Dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, Roger Martin, was speaking on design thinking when he shared,
The two most dangerous two words to innovation are 'prove it,' because nothing new can be proven in advance. It can only be proven over the passage of time.
It was so obvious. So clearly true. Yet, how many of us still sit and wait for proof that the nutty idea in our heads WILL work, before we're willing to invest more time, money, energy and risk of loss and judgment?
Within the context of larger organizations, even if you're willing to step out onto the ledge, how often are you met with the need to be blessed by others who control the purse-strings, resources and ability to give you the space needed to push an idea forward...but not until you can "prove" to them your idea will work? Because it's not just your ass on the the line, it's theirs.
And, while the biggest top-down innovation killer within a team or company is "prove it," it also seems the two most deadly words for any innovator, on an individual level, may just be..."may I?"