Know how to fail

September 6, 2018

Innovation is the heart of sustainable economic growth. Unlike 100 years ago, when economics grew through the power of additional labor – producing more machines and goods – innovation has its own unique growth structure, new ideas, new business models, and new ways to approach and offer value to customers. Innovation rises beyond physical capital by commercializing a new form of capital that is comprised of outstanding ideas and exceptional execution. However though innovation as the engine of growth, failures are much more common and strongly linked to success. The statistics show that only one startup out of 10 succeeds, beyond the raw statistics we argue that failure is the mechanism that creates the extraordinary solutions.

Many entrepreneurs describe their careers as a series of failures until the first success comes, however, those failures will be noted as a milestone in their way to gain the right knowledge and expertise which assist them to eventually succeed. Uri Levin has described the journey of Waze, traffic navigator that has been acquired by Google for 1 billion dollars, as a journey of failures, and the way to navigate these failures and the continuous persistent allow them to create such a remarkable solution that change so many people lives. All of these are not new to entrepreneurs; however, the ability to accept failure is yet to be in the nature of those organizations which strategically claim to implement innovation as their competitive edge.

There are many valuable methodologies which aim to drive continuous learning and stimulate risk-taking culture in large companies, the one angle that usually is overlooked is the innovation adoption process; when benchmark, deep dive, interactions with the sellers, could be time-consuming and very expensive, both at the company’s and employee’s level that are not working in a startup atmosphere, failure could demoralize the employees and their perceived credibility to find new disruptive opportunities.

If the process is simple and easy and enables more solutions to be explored and tested the probability for a success increases while the impact of a specific failure becomes less significant and enable the employees to focus on the learnings.

Going back to ways or any other traffic navigator that reminds us how making mistake could be frustrating without those solutions, in that sense we need not just to focus on how to stimulate innovation but also of how to reduce the costs of failures and we then we can try different routes to get to new places.