What do all creative cultures have in common? The common answer is that in order to figure out which ideas will work, people move fast to implement those ideas. I’d argue that more important than that is the ability to recover from failure just as fast:
“Fail fast” and “embrace failure” miss the fact that failing isn't the goal. “Recover fast” and “learn from failure” matter way more.
— John Maeda (@johnmaeda) July 22, 2015
It starts with culture
What does a culture of innovation look like? To me, it looks like Pixar.
With regards to managing a creative culture, Ed Catmull insightfully says in his book Creativity Inc., that business leaders must develop their organization’s ability to recover from failure just as fast as it moves to implement new ideas:
Change and uncertainty are part of life. Our job is not to resist them but to build the capability to recover when unexpected events occur. If you don’t always try to uncover what is unseen and understand its nature, you will be ill prepared to lead.
This, I also argue, is the reason why business leaders must be thoughtful about the type of culture they want; otherwise they will lose the ability to recover from a catastrophe. As a leader, you can’t leave culture up to chance, it must be shaped, it must be designed to both create and withstand the unexpected.
If you don’t create the kind of culture that will correct you when you're wrong, you could lead your team to failure: http://t.co/TQRqUeapsR
— Help Scout (@helpscout) July 15, 2015
Bottom line: Failure isn’t the goal as it relates to innovating. Rather, your ability to recover from failure fast is just a important as your ability to fail fast.