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.
When executives are allowed to hide their innovation failures the entire organization suffers. False expectations are set for the entire group of executives, innovation leaders see their careers scuttled, and every other employee fails to learn from the failure. Without clear organizational expectations of documenting, sharing, and learning from our failures we will continue to see them covered up. Left to our own devices we will naturally seek to avoid our failures and move into self-preservation mode. In my work helping organizations to build strong innovation processes this is a common issue but it can be resolved.
Last week I spent four days playing eight rounds of golf in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, with 19 other guys. That is 144 holes in just over 96 hours. Before you ask the question the answer is yes! Yes, we are absolutely a little crazy! We are also equally passionate about the game of golf. Through this marathon of golf I noticed that something happened to us all when we are playing. On the golf course, just as in the office, we were adjusting to our environment and influencing each other’s behavior.
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