The best innovations are the ones that we now can’t imagine living without, but in a world where ‘new’ quickly becomes ‘same-old’, how can a brand avoid the pitfalls of innovation. In this new series of blogs, we take a look at the biggest ‘brakes on innovation’ and the mistakes to avoid.
The biggest limitation on any innovation project is the fear of failure.
Many companies set a tone and culture that values success to such an extent that failures cannot be risked, acknowledged or learnt from. Knowing that it’s okay to fail can free employees to take risks and potentially develop groundbreaking new products.
One of the many reasons behind Google’s phenomenal success is its approach to failure. People remember hits more than misses; Google is known for YouTube, not Google Video Player. Within Google, it’s okay to fail as long as you learn from your mistakes and correct them quickly.
Google AdSense and Answers, were both uncharted territory for the organisation. While Google AdSense grew to be a multi-billion-dollar business, Google Answers, an on-line knowledge market, was shut down after only a few years. If Google had been afraid to fail, they never would have tried Google Answers or AdSense, and missed an opportunity to learn and an opportunity to succeed.
There should be no stigma attached to failure. A philosophy should be established at the highest level; if you do not fail often, you are not trying hard enough. Once a product fails to reach its potential, it should be axed, but the team should be allowed to learn from the experience.
The best way to avoid a fear of failure holding you back is to set up a series of experiments concurrently. As they progress down the innovation funnel build for success but recognise and learn from failures too.