Why Failure is the Secret to Success
Creating a healthy organisational culture is an essential component of any new business venture. We see the importance of micro-culture time and again in growth sprints. You need the right people in the room. And that does not mean just the people who will back you up on your central ideas. To really explore growth potential, it is essential to cultivate the perfect environment for innovation.
In a field where innovation is the name of the game, coming up with a totally authentic idea that gains widespread attention is notoriously difficult. This article will explore how to cultivate innovation within your organisation, and will attempt to convince you to encourage failure as one of the most direct routes to achieving innovation.
Ridley suggests that there aren't a lot of 'Eureka' moments in real-world innovation. Rather, innovation comes from a gradual series of realisations in tiny steps which lead to the greatest leaps forward.
Matt Ridley, author of How Innovation Works - and Why it Flourishes in Freedom, discusses how the COVID-19 Pandemic has really shown up how little innovation we have achieved in recent years. We have too many barriers to innovation. The real focus of his book is the idea of cultivating the right environment for innovation to flourish, "one which exports disorder in order to create order". Successful innovators are constantly exploring their ideas. They use failure to discover which ideas have traction, and drop those which don't - this type of approach enables any business to propel ideas forward.
What Stunts Growth?
“There is no question that stalled growth is one of the most pernicious and pressing problems for today’s businesses, and that’s not just true for start-ups, but for just about any business, large or small, in just about any industry you can think of.”
― Sean Ellis, Hacking Growth: How Today's Fastest-Growing Companies Drive Breakout Success
Arguably, surrounding yourself with 'yes' people will ultimately slow down your growth. We all love people who say yes. We love to be backed up on our ideas. We love to feel our ideas are great. But the best way to achieve a great idea is to push it to be better - question it. Challenge it. Surrounding ourselves with 'Yes people' will not help us to achieve greatness. They will encourage us to spend time and effort on substandard ideas which will ultimately slow down our growth potential.
Many successful start-ups have moved on from the traditional model of friends asking friends for business recommendations, and are instead putting customer reviews at the centre of their success metrics.
Ideas are common. Real genius is seen in those who take a simple idea, and turn it into something which actually works. To do that, we need to look at our ideas from all angles. Ideally from outside of the office.
In reality, innovation is not an immediate thing. It is a process of trial and error - a long, often slow process of discovery. An iterative process of successive failures leading to new learnings. To truly foster innovation, an open test and learn culture that embraces the learnings failure can provide is what any company worth its salt should be attempting to cultivate.
Check out Matt Ridley's innovation podcast here: https://www.libertarianism.org/podcasts/free-thoughts/how-innovation-works.