Tag Archives: failure

Being creative has more to do with being fearless than intelligent

Being creative has more to do with being fearless than intelligent.

Fearlessness gives birth to new knowledge. It’s only by taking the unknown path, the road less traveled that you’ll find and create new knowledge. Don’t be afraid to be wrong, what’s wrong is not being open to new ideas, to change, to stumbling onto unfamiliar situations to being the best you can be.

I propose we cultivate fearless curiosity to explore our own potential. With that I leave you with a quote from someone who knows a little bit of being fearless:

The greatest fear people have is that of being themselves. They want to be 50 Cent or someone else. They do what everyone else does even if it doesn’t fit where and who they are. But you get nowhere that way; your energy is weak and no one pays attention to you. You’re running away from the one thing that you own – what makes you different.”

–  50 Cent

Enhanced by Zemanta

Innovation posts of the week: Organizational Innovation

Enhanced by Zemanta

Innovation posts of the week: Do companies need less innovation?

Want more? You can find more innovation posts in my Delicious bookmarks account, all good stuff!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Innovation posts of the week: Innovation Economics

Great collection of reads this week which I encourage you to read while also following these smart people on Twitter.


Want more? You can find more in my Delicious bookmarks account, all good stuff!

Top 20 Innovation posts of the week: Smartfailing

Thanks to all the people who share links there was lots of content this week so the list ended up being longer than usual, all worth reading.


  1. Smartfailing – a new concept for learning through failure by
  2. – NY Times
  3. Sometimes Success Begins at Failure — HBS Working Knowledge via
  4. Survey Reveals Corporations With Centralized Innovation Departments More Likely to Have Focused Efforts via  
  5. Ideas are far more glamorous compared to the actual execution: Vijay Govindarajan via    
  6. The efficient use of ideas by
  7. Managers who understand how artists work will have a distinct advantage via  
  8. Idea Deficit Disorder – Stopping the Epidemic by
  9. Innovation ‘ s Biggest Paradox
  10. Try Something New: Experiments Can Lead to Success by
  11. Innovators field guide to finding unmet customer needs
  12. Quarterly Earnings Kill People-Based Innovation… – Fast Company
  13. The Idea or The Execution? Here’s What The Greatest Minds in Tech Say
  14. Beyond Stage-Gate: A new approach for innovation by
  15. Six Secrets to Creating a Culture of Innovation – HBR
  16. Innovation & the Status Quo: The perils of groupthink, stereotyping and system justification by
  17. Getting Down to the Business of Creativity — HBS Working Knowledge
  18. Creativity Matters by
  19. True Leaders Are Also Managers by
  20. ‘Ideacide’ (or 14 Ways to Kill Creativity) – OPEN Forum

Why some people tolerate failure more than others

There are a number of reasons why I liked the by G. Michael Maddock and Raphael Louis Vitón. Not only are they right, but they also touch on a very important topic: The reason .

If you’ve read Carol Dweck’s book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success then you know what I’m talking about. Check it out…

Read the following four sentences and write down whether you agree or disagree with each of them:

  1. You are a certain kind of person, and there is not much that can be done to really change that.
  2. No matter what kind of person you are, you can always change substantially.
  3. You can do things differently, but the important parts of who you are can’t really be changed.
  4. You can always change basic things about the kind of person you are.

If you agree with items 1 and 3, you’re someone who has a ’fixed mindset’. If you agreed with items 2 and 4, you tend to have a ‘growth mindset’.

What does this mean?

People with a fixed mindset believe that their abilities are basically static whereas people with a growth mindset believe abilities are like muscles that can be built up with practice. With a growth mindset you tend to accept more challenges despite the risk of failure, therefore if you are of a growth mindset you seek to get better all the time; which usually means learning from mistakes.

What does this have to do with innovation?

As the authors of the article say, fear of failure makes growing, getting smarter, and becoming a learning organization all but impossible. So if we are to cultivate ‘innovativeness’ in our organizations we must first instill the growth mindset in our team and then work to change how we perceive failure by coming to a collective understanding that failure will happen along the way of any new initiative we pursue.

As Carol Dweck says: People will persevere only if they perceive failure as learning rather than as failing.

Growth vs. Fixed, which one are you?

IBM: Early failure is a necessary investment in innovation

I’m reading Switch: How to change things when change is hard by the Heath brothers and in one of the middle chapters called Grow your people there’s a very important lesson on the topic of the fear of failure when provoking change. Here are some thoughts:

Since everything is hard before it is easy, in order to create change we have to be able to move people to a different set of behaviors and most of the time this is where the problem exists because people fear situations that are unknown. To keep people motivated in the long road to change, you need to create the expectation of failure.

According to the Heath brothers learning from failure begins with having the right mindset. A person with a is more likely to view failure as learning as opposed to one who has a fixed mindset and prefers routine tasks, therefore we must work to cultivate a growth mindset in your organization.

I think this where it all starts because as humans we’ve been programmed to think that ‘failure is wrong’ when really and so we’re taught to ignore the middle part of the process where all the learning takes place. The middle is the journey, where the ups and downs happen and you need the will to break through.

As the Economist recently mentioned, the key to the success to any change initiative is that first:


Leaders of organizations should allow their innovators to be scientists and tell our teams we don’t expect 100 percent success in early experiments. The important thing is to learn from failed experiments early in the process and use those lessons to map out a path to success.


For the purpose of credibility here’s a story from the book that I think is worth highlighting:

*Failing is often the best way to learn and because of that early failure is a kind of necessary investment. A famous story about IBM makes the point well. In the 1960’s, an executive at IBM made a decision that ended up losing the company $10 million. The CEO of IBM, Tom Watson, summoned the offending executive to his office at corporate headquarters. The journalist Paul B. Carroll described what happened next:


As the executive cowered, Watson asked, “Do you know why I’ve asked you here?”

The man replied, “I assume I’m here so you can fire me.”

Watson looked surprised.

“Fire you?” he asked. “Of course not. I just spent $10 million educating you.”


I’m almost finished reading the book and will post any other thoughts I think are worth mentioning.

Enhanced by Zemanta