13: Do everything right, and you’ll still fail

Odds are your innovation efforts will fail.  Bummer.  Big, big bummer.

It's tough to bring something new in to the world.  Your chances of survival improve with a process informed by design thinking, but it's very likely some key factor — across desirability, viability, or feasibility — will not quite be there, and things will go pear-shaped. 

This doesn't mean we shouldn't try to win, to make things happen.  Quite the opposite: because the odds are so low, it means working even harder, pushing as much as you can to get things right.  I don't know about you, but I really hate failing.  It feels bad when it happens from a big-picture point of view; I have no problem with a prototype failing (that's a good thing, per Raney's Corollary), but I loathe the idea of something failing at a systemic level.  Yuck.

But acknowledging that failure is a likely outcome enables us — if we work with the end in mind — to make a leap to a more productive state of being.  That state of mind is the focus of Principle 14.

This is number 13 in a series of 21 principles of innovation.  Your feedback, ideas, and comments are greatly appreciated.

1 thought on “13: Do everything right, and you’ll still fail

  1. Hey Diego:
    I love this one. We just had a big mistake on our team yesterday and everyone felt pretty badly about it. It was important for us to move forward and learn from it, and I think we will within the team, but I found myself wondering about the “reputation risk” we face when making mistakes in more distant relationships. I think over time people see a pattern of mistake, recover, win; but how do we make sure this doesn’t turn into mistake, distrust, lose?

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