Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Innovation is the punctuation at the end of a string of failures

Read this in Forbes: "Innovation's Return on Failure: ROF".

Also, this: "The Necessity of Failure in Innovation (+ more on CDOs)".

This, too: "Why innovation efforts fail".

While we're at it: "Accepting Failure is Key to Good Overall Returns on High-Risk Development Programs".

I can't say enough about the value of "failure".  The big issue here is the label.

A project with a grand scope and strategic vision gets changed to make it smaller and more focused.  Did it "fail" to deliver on the original requirements?  Or did someone learn that the original grand scope was wrong?

A project that changes isn't failure.  It's just lessons learned.  Canceling, re-scoping, de-scoping, and otherwise modifying a project is what innovation looks like.  It should not be counted as a "failure".

A project "Death March" occurs because failure is not an option, and change will be labeled as failure.