What do good failures look like?

what do good failures look like?

Question-to-innovate Series: This the nineteenth of a series of weekly posts where I will answer a few common questions about innovation. Please feel free to add your own response. Also, if you have any questions you think we should discuss, let me know.

A few weeks ago I set the record straight about the relationship between innovation and failure: Failure isn’t the goal, but it is part of the process of innovation.

The goal of experimentation is probe for answers you can’t predict. When well done, mistakes will be made and learning will be had. Framing failure as learning is key to understanding its importance, because we’ll then view it as productive trial-and-error. So, how do we know when we’ve failed productively?

Simply put, good failures have two defining characteristics:

  1. You know why you failed and you have gained knowledge relevant to the next project
  2. Good failures happen fast enough and aren’t big enough to compromise your brand

Pretty simple huh?

Bottom line: Without experimentation there is no innovation. We have to think about failure as learning.

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