Failure Forums: Interview with Geek Squad Founder Robert Stephens on Risk, Fear, & Failure

We hear it so often that it has become cliché.  Small companies are nimble and move quickly where as large companies can muster significant resources but are slow to respond to emerging threats and opportunities.  In response to their admitted slow pace many big companies have focused their attention on acquisitions as a way to mitigate threats and infuse new growth opportunities into their business.

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Failure Forums: Lessons Learned From Failed Startup inSphere

Most startups will fail. Everyone in the startup community knows that failure is a more common occurrence than success. Silicon Valley has become so enamored by the “value of failure” that rumors suggest they are considering handing out merit badges for failed entrepreneurs.  Just how common is startup failure? Harvard researcher Shikhar Ghosh cites that 75% of VC funded startups fail to return a single dime to their investors. So why do we hear so little about failed startups in Minnesota? Are we too “Minnesota nice” to brag about our failures?

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Facing Failure: Using Setbacks and Failure to Propel Your Organization Forward

From childhood we are taught about the importance of perseverance. We are told that in the face of adversity we are supposed to hold firm and to strive on. The truth is that this advice is easy to give but extremely difficult to put into practice.  When we are faced with setbacks or failure we naturally question our approach, our abilities, and our determination. We know that most great success stories show the hero or heroine exiting from their experience stronger than they went in but we always question our own resolve.

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Facing Failure: A Shocking Setback Drives Non-profit Toward Success

We are constantly bombarded with the latest “innovation” stories from Silicon Valley tech startups. Almost never do we hear the stories of amazingly innovative non-profits – but trust me they do exist. As in business, sometimes innovation initiatives succeed but sometimes they miss the mark. How organizations chose to accept and learn from those failures can dramatically influence their future success. They are not just attempting to launch new initiatives, they are creating a culture of innovation.

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The Necessity of Failure: Enable Risk Taking to Fully Engage Employees in Driving Innovation

I work with companies large and small who are trying to develop a sustainable innovation practice. They don’t just want to launch an idea on a wing and a prayer. They want to find a repeatable process that can improve their chances of success. Admittedly they have tried the wing and prayer route before and they know it doesn’t work. The truth is that most of these disruptive or exponential innovation initiatives don’t succeed. They fail. The challenge that these companies face is that they are trying to build the tools and processes but they struggle to address the culture. They never address the necessity of failure.

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Former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak Discusses Government, Innovation and the Role of Failure

Last year I began writing an online column for Pollen titled Facing Failure as an effort to spark a discussion on the importance of failure in driving innovation in the non-profit, education, and government sectors.  Most of us would prefer to avoid failure and the pain that it can cause but to truly create something new mistakes will need to be made along the way.  In politics, a “failed” initiative can quickly sabotage a political career which is why most politicians are quick to dismiss or gloss over their shortcomings.  But there are some politicians are trying to reframe the discussion with candor and transparency.  I am excited to share my recent interview with one such politician, former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak.

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Drama in Academia This Week… Just How Important Is Disruptive Innovation?

Are we ready for a new twist on reality TV? What if we moved benign academic tussles to a new full-contact arena? We could call it the “Ph.D. Cage Match.” Not likely but I have to admit truthfully that it has been a little exciting watching this battle of words brewing between two Harvard academics. Jill Lepore (a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine and Harvard Professor of American History) and Clay Christensen (a Harvard Professor of Business Administration and the reigning godfather of the modern innovation movement) have been publicly duking it out over their disagreement on Christensen’s theory of “disruptive innovation.”

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