I hold a lot of respect for Seth Godin and read his excellent blog often. In the March 17 entry  Not for me  Seth talks about separating personal preferences, tastes and beliefs, and reasoning.

It’s a good point and a nice brief entry used to convey it. There is one thing I will have to mildly disagree with Seth on.

Seth says:

“You can say you don’t like a book or a movie or a political candidate, but without more data, it’s impossible to say that it won’t succeed, get great reviews or even get elected.”

In fact, it is plain impossible to reliably predict the outcome of a new venture based on ANY amount of data. If the opposite were true, there would never be flopped projects, unexpected failures and unexpected successes. There would be no such thing as 30% project success rate, no Betacam, and many and early iPhones.

Talk to any C-level person long enough and the word “innovation” will pop out. The “culture of innovation is a highly coveted, rare substance. It is so for a good reason because businesses, its shareholders and the Street demand predictable, reliable results. Innovation, the quest into uncharted territories, is bound to produce both stars and duds. Not very predictable, understandably.

Successfully balancing the rigour of analytics and the exciting uncertainty of innovation is an enviable trait of a high-class CEO. Organizations that can do both effectively have the clear competitive advantage and, by definition, are positioned to weather economic storms better.