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The Potential to Fail Is Essential for Innovation and Growth

Weekly Key Takeaway #37

Failure and success of the innovation process illustrated by a paper plane

A modern, targeted innovation process is the driver when it comes to higher productivity and economic growth. This applies equally to the analog and the digital world.

On the one hand, increasing productivity makes companies more profitable. On the other hand, this enables them to make appropriate future investments, for example. For us as decision-makers, there is initially no new information.

With a view to this formative success cycle of a company, one essential aspect is decisive: the calculated failure is part of every innovation and growth process from the beginning. In our world, in which everything always has to be high-performance, result-oriented and fast, not always easy to actually implement.

Dyson does it in the analog world

When it comes to the analog world, the story of Dyson’s innovation process comes to mind. Many of us know the successful brand, which is best known for its main product category, vacuum cleaners. Before Dyson could develop the perfect vacuum cleaner, it took over 5,000 prototypes to understand how it couldn’t work under any circumstances.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) does in the digital world

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is an example as we turn to the digital world. Classic product development and approval processes are obsolete at AWS. Instead of developing different product versions over several years, AWS has many starts per year — sometimes even several starts per day. These are not just improvements to existing services, but also completely new ones that expand the more than 200 established services.

Innovation is driven by a process of rapid exploration and discovery 

Innovation is driven by a process of rapid exploration and discovery
Copyright 2021 Linda Grasso, Digital Business Innovation – Source: PWC

Based on this high clock rate approach, new ideas, technologies, products, and services are developed and applied immediately. One of the main goals is to quickly identify non-viable innovations to make the most of the available resources.

To put it simply: it is better to fail fast and on a calculated basis to drive company growth through marketable innovations.

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Mike Flache

P.S. Together with talented teams, I build digital businesses worldwide. If you would like to exchange ideas about digital growth, feel free to contact me.

Cover image: Matt Ridley on Unsplash

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