Celebrating Brilliant Failures
Harvard Business Review august 2007: Every journey has missteps, and organizations must learn to incorporate them into the process and learn from them…
We held two dinners this spring, one in New York and one in London, that gathered executives, authors, academics, and others to discuss the topic of “Leading for Innovation” that will be the focus of our Burning Questions conference to be held in October.
At both dinners, there was much discussion of the role of failure in innovation. Every journey has missteps, and organizations must learn to incorporate them into the process and learn from them. The general conclusion was that companies still do a poor job of recognizing and rewarding these ‘smart failures’ as part of the innovation process.
We were heartened to learn that one company is taking steps in the right direction. Paul Iske, chief knowledge officer and a senior vice president at ABN AMRO, shared with us their concept of the Institute of Brilliant Failures that will highlight the importance of experimentation and failure in progress in innovation. While still in development, this project will soon comprise a website and other material in a variety of media that will recognize innovators when they succeed and when they fail.