To Increase Innovation Take the Sting Out of Failure

Many organizations experience a strong logical need for more innovation, yet weeks, months and years can go by without any action. The reason is simple: innovation efforts are inherently risky and can (by definition) fail. And failure can sting. Therefore, taking the out of failure is an integral part of the solution.

Getting the sting out of failure is not easy, but certainly worth the effort. According to author Doug Sundheim, the 3 main steps to follow include:

Step 1. Defining smart failures by asking the right questions. For example: “What makes a failure smart in our organization?”, “What makes a failure dumb? Specifically, what guidelines, approaches, or processes characterize smart risk taking?”.

Step 2. Once defined, smart failures should be rewarded much like successes. This act sends a powerful message about what sort of behavior is encouraged in an organization, according to the author.

Step 3. Finally, as a manager, make your approach to risk taking transparent by sharing both successes and the occasional yet memorable flops and make sure to offer support once experimentation and smart risk taking is under way.

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