15: Celebrate errors of commission. Stamp out errors of omission.

When we attempt to bring new things in to the world, we will make mistakes and screw things up.  That, along with death and taxes, is a certain thing.

So, for individuals trying to make a difference, or for organizations trying to be innovative on a routine basis, a fundamental question must be asked and answered:  do we want to reward smart thoughts in the absence of action, or do we decide to celebrate the act of trying, even when it takes us to places of failure?  I say that we need to err on the side of errors of commission.  Doing must be more weighty than thinking or talking.

In the words of Bob Lutz:

Errors of commission are less damaging to us that errors of omission… taking no risk is to accept the certainty of long-term failure.

Obviously we need balance, and not everything can be about charging in and apologizing later.  It's good to listen to what the world is telling you and course correct as you go.  But a bias for action, and ways of rewarding action and penalizing inaction, will lead to remarkable things happening over time.

We must celebrate (and learn from) errors of commission and stamp out out errors of omission. 

This is number 15 in a series of 21 principles of innovation.  Your feedback is most welcome.