Tag Archives: Fail Fast

Failure isn’t the goal for innovation


Cooking (Photo credit: omarbercor)

What if you could predict with certainty that people will love your new product or service? What if there was a huge scoreboard that would tell you that a massive amount of people will like what you are cooking up before the expensive launch? Business owners, and managers, tell me that they would love to know that whatever they are cooking up will work with certainty. This is a fallacy.

I’ve also heard managers say, as you have, that they much rather copy competitors than taking the lead themselves to avoid failure. Not surprising in my neck of the woods…

So, what does one tell these people and organizations? The current line of thinking is that one should “fail fast”. But this line of thinking has gone overboard. Some believe that “failure thinking” should be accepted. Let me make it clear: failure isn’t the goal. It is learning.

4 Innovation Lessons from the Miami Heat

English: Lebron James: Dunking Washington Wiza...

Image via Wikipedia

If you’re a fan of basketball, competition and innovation, you will enjoy this. Before the start of the NBA season, ESPN published a fascinating article about how the Miami Heat’s offense will be reinvented. As you might remember, the Heat lost to the Dallas Mavericks in the last year’s NBA Finals.

After the loss, the Heat’s Head Coach, Erik Spoelstra had a lot of time to think about how we would reinvent his team. His answer: Study the Oregon Ducks spread offense to see how he could apply the same principles to create a fast-paced basketball offense.

How might an offense that’s powered by dynamic players be reinvented?

Are Little Bets a recipe for better innovation?

A few weeks ago I reviewed Peter Sims new book on experimental innovation, Little Bets. Since then I’ve received emails from friends asking me for concrete examples of businesses doing experimental innovation as well as why this is a better approach to innovation.

For those of you who haven’t read Little Bets or want to familiarize yourself with the concept, Tim Kastelle wrote a great write up about how little bets work.

With that said, internet companies are exemplary of taking a little bets approach. Because of the nature of the net, internet companies can do trial and error in real-time. And because of the size of their user base, they can get results very quickly. 

Two of these companies are Google and Mozilla.