I heard this statement expressed the other week while walking around the campus of a thriving business:
"This is the building where we do failure"
A very simple statement, but very deep. It referred to a building dedicated to the support of prototyping behavior. In other words, a place where people are encouraged to craft probes in to the future, each designed to bring back a bit of evidence meant to guide decision making.
What I also found significant about this place is that it is open to anyone. It’s not a special lab or skunkworks for a select group of people. Anyone can walk in and do failure. I think this is an important kind of resource to have available if your organization is serious about engaging in innovation on a routine basis, whether that innovation be incremental or evolutionary in nature.
There’s a Field of Dreams aspect to having a place designed for failure. You have to believe. In particular, three points of belief are key to sustaining a place for failure, otherwise it won’t get used in the right way or even understood:
At the end of the day, having a place responsible for the creation of variance, fueled by intuition and experimentation and optimism, is key to making failure instructive and productive.