Innovation has a factor of luck; but how can we avoid it being a Lottery

posted by Ravi Arora August 13, 2015

Betting started as early as 205 BC in China. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lottery and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gambling). In the early days, the lotteries tickets were distributed by rich people to present gifts to their guests. Later, in 15th century the public lotteries were conducted to raise funds for the purpose of war or to help the poor.

Have you ever bought a lottery ticket? If no, why? And if yes, try and answer the following questions. I did and the thoughts it invokes are very interesting.

  1. Were you excited when you bought the ticket?
  2. Was the ticket bought consciously or due to some social obligation?
  3. How long did the excitement of buying ticket last?
  4. During the days after you purchased the ticket, did you remember the date when the results were to be announced?
  5. Were you optimistic about winning the lottery?
  6. As the lottery jackpot amount is usually very high, did you (day) dream about winning it?
  7. Did you finally check if you won the lottery?

Do you know how many people don’t claim their lotteries? Look at this: http://money.cnn.com/2015/02/09/pf/unclaimed-lottery-winners/ and http://www.lottery.co.uk/info/unclaimed-lottery-prizes.asp

Why do you think so many lotteries go unclaimed? Why are people indifferent about their lottery tickets? The only reason for this indifference could be that they don’t have even an iota of hope and therefore don’t make plans of using or splurging on the jackpot. They would have certainly bought the ticket for an momentary fun or a similar such reason.

Now let ys compare the lottery system, which is gambling with the gambling of other types: Sports betting

I am sure you must have heard about betting on horse racing or cricket or on any other sport or even for that matter Tambola or a Roulette. Look at (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sports_betting).

If you have participated in any of these, let us answer the same set of questions.

  1. Were you excited when you bought the ticket or placed the bet?
  2. Was the betting done consciously or due to some social obligation?
  3. How long did the excitement last?
  4. Were you optimistic about winning the bet?
  5. When were the results known?
  6. Did you know if you won or lost?
  7. These bets are usually not of a very high value (as compared to lottery) for most individuals, did you fancy your chances of winning?

Both are bets but the answers are quite different for most of us. What are the reasons? Let me state the differences that I see.

  1. The buying decision is an involved one for the Sports bet as compared to the Lottery. Lot of knowledge about the sport, the sportsmen, chances and probability could be used to take the decision.
  2. In case of Sports bet, the time available after placing the bet until the final outcome is announced is short, engaging and exciting.
  3. Situation of the game and therefore chances could change every minute or second in case of latter and this keeps the excitement or engagement high. In most cases there is always an option to change the decision though at some extra cost.

How are innovations managed in your organization? Are these like the lottery ticket where a manager or a leader talks about various innovation opportunities and then there is no one to claim? Or these are like somewhat closer to sports betting with lot of Adrenalin rush, involvement of the players and cheerleaders and emotional outbursts?