Innovation failure is not bad

Failure is unavoidable for innovation groups and the usual rate can be up to 80%.

Such a failure rate sounds scary but not all mistakes are terrible. Correctly, innovation failure can have very positive consequences.

What is a good failure? Usually it is where a project has taught the team something they were unaware of before they started working. Now, of course, such lessons have cost the team the amount they have spent on the project. A good mistake tends to happen when a team leaves a project early.

In an organization that has a culture to celebrate good, the money that has been saved in a private venture is an investment that is useful to teach a group how to do something next.

Conversely, of course, a bad failure has not revealed anything new, and has wasted a lot of money by not early enough.

For many organizations it's hard enough to celebrate good mistakes. This way you can imagine how difficult things happen to newcomers when they need to explain the sequence of bad failures. Most of the time, a series of bad mistakes will be all that's needed to kill an innovation plan once and for all.

On the other hand, some organizations are outstanding in accepting failure as a success. These are organizations that have developed a sophisticated innovation process that acknowledges that failure is unavoidable.

Let's look at this mathematics.

On average, if four of the five attempts are going wrong, there is the rest that needs to be good enough to pay for the others. Failure to control this fundamental equation means that an innovation plan will never be able to justify itself financially.

What is the best way to make sure this does not happen? Obviously, focusing attention on maximizing the number of good failures – those that do not cost much.

The natural consequence of this course is, of course, that you should postpone investment in new items for as long as possible – certainly long enough to ensure that you have removed as many risks as possible by mistakes.


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