Survival is not Enough: Failure should be an option


If you work every day at a company that makes money by producing something, then you can’t afford to blow that up.

You can’t afford to say, “We are going to stop making Golf GTI.”

You can’t afford to say, “We don’t do LegalWise insurance anymore. It is what we make all our money on, but we stopped.”

That is the engine that pays for all the innovation that you are going to have to do.

In companies that have an industrial mindset, don’t expect people to innovate, because they won’t. They are not rewarded for innovating. They don’t have time to innovate. They are not encouraged to innovate. Innovation disturbs the routine of how we do things around here.

Innovation just is not around the corner for them, not the big-time disruptive innovation.

In fact, the big-time disruptive innovation would lead to failure in other aspects of the business resulting in them losing their jobs.

In most companies there are strong incentives not to innovate.

What you need to do is isolate some staff. Put them in an office across the street. Insist that they do not come back to you with interim reports. Leave them alone and only reward them for failing because if you can create that environment, where there is time pressure and intellectual pressure but there is not that push-push-push from the boss, then and only then is it likely that they will do the kind of work that they do at startups.

The mistake that big companies make is that they say, “We want to be as innovative as a startup, but we want to fail as often as an industrialist,” which is zero.

Failure should be an option in your company, if things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.

Don’t fail for the sake of failing, fail forward, fast fast, fail cheap.

If failure is not an option, then neither is success.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s