Nothing to lose
What made me think about this is the difficulty a number of our clients have when trying to innovate. Most firms desperately want new products, new services and new business models, but they also want to protect their existing infrastructure and offerings, so what happens is that there's really only two options - incremental innovation around the existing products or services, or the introduction of products and services so unlike anything that exists in the current portfolio that the firm has little ability to create and deliver it effectively. Since they believe there's something to lose, the firms have a hard time innovating.
I was talking with a client recently who said he'd like to structure a team within his organization that would examine the best opportunities and bring new ideas to the table "regardless of the existing investments" and products. In other words, his "dream team" would start with very few expectations about maintaining the status quo, and could potentially create products and services that might disrupt the existing offerings or perhaps cannibalize them. Only then, he felt, would his team have the freedom to think about the best opportunities.
Cortes is famous for burning his boats when he arrived in Latin America. He offered himself and his men no option other than to proceed on his quest. I think too often in many businesses we ask people to innovate - to explore new possibilities - but we saddle them with too many restrictions, too much baggage, and offer them a way out through very incremental innovation. Most innovation teams need to be led by people who are willing to shed the baggage and burn the boats if they want to be successful. Yes, it may cause some short term pain, but the ability to operate as if there's nothing to lose can be quite liberating, and will open up new opportunities.