Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Innovation Mantra: Fail Forward

Fail fast and fail forward!

At the age of innovation, failure is seen as a fruit full of experience. Failure is part of innovation. It depends on how you read failure: A way to improve until you find the wonderful solution which will suit market or simply a waste of time. It depends on what you learn from it. It follows common sense: you learn more from failure than from your success!
  • There's an old saying goes, "there's a million ways to fail and one to succeed." In normal companies, most of the time failures are not structural. They missed a market opportunity, over-invested in a particular opportunity, etc. In structural failures where the learning can be applied in the future, the company generally fails. This is why from a senior leadership perspective their experience (both success and failure) are important for future positions...
  • WHAT vs. WHY: One sign of how well a company is able to learn is whether the focus on any new initiative that is more about "what" the results are vs. "why" we are getting these results.The company focusing on "what" sees only the current result and not the possible learning opportunities for future projects. Asking "why" is harder, but it is ultimately more successful in figuring out how to deliver real breakthroughs.
  • Failure is part of innovation; it is very much an intrinsic part of innovating. Like many other things in business, it is a balancing act to have enough failure and an environment that encourages learning from failure quickly and cheaply, without having failures that are too frequent or too expensive. Ultimately it is critical that innovation results in financial successes or a business will not remain competitive. 
  • The other condition necessary to make failure a learning opportunity is self-insight. It is the insight into the cause of the failure and the alternative courses of action that could have been pursued that makes it a real “lesson learned.” Without the insight, the likelihood of the same situation repeating itself again in the future is higher. 

Failure builds knowledge and resilience
. Part of being a leader is taking the risk. If you take risks in life, you are going to fail at some of them. What makes leaders successful is what they do after they fail at something. What gives them the chance to do something else after they fail is making sure that they do not put at risk something that they truly cannot afford to lose. 

It is one of the biggest cultural change of innovation-Fail Fast and Fail Forward.


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