If we pandered to the 'general football establishment' as fans then we would have appointed Harry. That would not have been a risk. To consider Hodgson a 'safe' bet purely on those lines is ill conceived. Back his appointment, yes, for that is what we do but puff out your cheeks and go, 'are you sure'? It was a huge risk.
Wasn't Harry at Spurs by then?
Also of course it was a huge risk, that's the whole point I think you might be missing. I can't speak for the OP but I certainly wasn't talking about risk (though I don't think he was, not in the sense you mean anyway). Pretty much any big decision carries massive risk. Point was that appointing Roy wasn't imaginative. It was a completely, if you like, 'mainstream' idea to have. It was not in any way creative. It wasn't the kind of idea no-one else would have thought of. Playing Gerrard as a forward though - who the hell ever thought of that before Rafa went and actually did it? That's what I'm talking about. Rafa saw in him a set of attributes that no-one else had seen in those terms, took the risk - the INFORMED risk - of moving him further up the pitch, a decision plenty of our fans and most of the rest of the football world saw as batshit crazy. We all know the results. That's the kind of decision I'm talking about, and I suspect the OP was too. Again, it's exactly the kind of decisision that Hodgson and Kenny didn't make, very different managers but both were totally about 'established' thinking. Neither managed in an original way, one way or another they were trying to play the same old game with inferior resources. The best we ever could have hoped for from either of them was to be a crappier version of the teams above us, unless we got some massive cash injection from somewhere. Between them, they did a pretty good job of undoing almost all of the truly cutting-edge stuff that Rafa had us doing, replacing it with variations of the same sort of stuff every other British team does.
This misconception that we have not thought 'outside of the box' before was dispelled by Rafa's appointment. It did and it didn't work. It brought us CL success but no PL, however close we got. Just as we had settled down with a safe pair of hands, looking to kick on we were thwarted by outside forces as was Kenny. And this is my point. You need stability first and foremost. Give a manager one season then fire him if he doesn't deliver? That's not risk that's ridiculous.
The two aren't mutually exclusive - once you find the right talent, you give them time. That's where we failed with Rafa. Also, it did work, absolutely emphatically. Not winning the prem shouldn't constitute failure for us to anyone who doesn't have ludicrously unrealistic and over-inflated expectations. We succeeded massively under Rafa and there is no better proof of that then how Rafa's (at the time) 'crazy' ideas are now pretty much footballing orthodoxy among a great many top international and club sides.
Now, we have taken a calculated risk with BR. I agree with you we need innovation a la Sacchi. But this takes time. He needs to be allowed to fail and learn from his mistakes. That's not risk, that's common sense. Building from scratch is not risk until those in control get wafty and demand success quicker than planned. Then you move to gambling, taking a punt. That's not risk that's fucking madness.
This last part I do agree with, for sure, but it's the innovation that's really important, and that's where we, as a club, have utterly and completely failed since Dalglish left the first time, barring only Rafa's time in charge. Even then, his innovations were staunchly resisted by the club's heirarchy, the entire football media and general establishment, and by a depressingly massive number of our fans. That last point is exactly what the OP is getting at too - if BR really is an innovator, just watch how many toys fly out of prams the first time he actually does something innovative. By comparison, it's interesting that most of Dalglish's approaches and decisions, barring the odd team selection, met with general approval - at least so it seemed to me. In any walk of life, un-creative decisions are generally pretty warmly welcomed by the majority. The key bit is distinguishing the innovative from the idiotic, and that is, or course, where research comes in, so you can make informed decisions about stuff - another area we utterly failed in hiring Hodgson.