One of the ways you can mitigate risk is by the selection of the risk that you take.
Some environments and people are risk averse and likely for good reason. Others have a much higher tolerance for risk.
I’m going to use the products from an international grocery store trip for an example.
Item one is the donut peach. Now, if you’re trying a donut peach for the first time, this is at a fairly low risk. Most of us have had peaches and we know whether we like peaches. A donut peach tastes like a peach. It smells like a peach. It looks like a peach, just a little squishy.
This, to me is like an upgrade to a known tool, such as project management systems. I know we’ve got a project management system. We just need to do an upgrade to it or transition to one that’s somewhat similar. So… low risk change.
Slightly higher risk is, say, going from a pear, which many of us have had before and many of us know we like them, to grabbing a random, unfamiliar fruit like an “Asian pear.” I can make some assumptions about an “Asian Pear” based on the name and observation. It being called a “pear” means that someone, somewhere, thought it was like a pear. It looks like a combination of an apple and pear. It seems hard like an apple. It was in the fruit section, so there is a good chance it is both sweet and non-poisonous.
The risk here is that I can’t predict the texture without cutting into it or the flavor without tasting it. Upon cutting into it and tasting it, the “asian pear” is closer to an apple in texture and sweet like an unripened pear.
The analogy I would use here would be – I’ve got a fairly good project management process. I need a tool to help me automate it or help me solve a problem that I’m struggling with in my current process. Like resource management.
Again, it’s a calculated risk, slightly higher risk tolerance.
An even higher risk – would be spicy octopus dumplings. Now, depending on how you feel about octopus, your risk level on this might be higher than most people. I happen to like octopus when it’s done well.
You can still mitigate the risk through gradual exposure to lower risk activities.
An example – let’s say I’ve never tried octopus or dumplings and have no idea whether I can tolerate spicy food.
Lowest risk – eating something familiar in a dumpling format.
Slightly higher risk – eating something familiar with a bit of pepper to see whether I can tolerate spicy.
If the first two experiments work, the next higher risk activity would be either to try a very bland, flavorless fish (such as cod) or, if I know that I like fish, trying octopus.
Once I know I like dumplings, I like spicy food, and I like dumplings – I could safely say I would like Spicy Octopus dumplings.