By Catherine Campbell
Having a regimented approach to [prevent] failure within your organization is antiquated thinking, and may be holding back growth and employee retention. Forward thinking organizations link failure and innovation, allowing projects or services to fail while gaining insights that help to propel the next generation into success. Harvard Business Review has a good article explaining the benefits of the Failure Tolerant Leader. Intrigued? Here are some of the questions leaders ask after failure, according to the article:
- Was the project designed conscientiously, or was it carelessly organized?
- Could the failure have been prevented with more thorough research or consultation?
- Was the project a collaborative process, or did those involved resist useful input from colleagues or fail to inform interested parties of their progress?
- Did the project remain true to its goals, or did it appear to be driven solely by personal interests?
- Were projections of risks, costs, and timing honest or deceptive?
- Were the same mistakes made repeatedly?
Credit: Harvard Business Review
If you’re new to this concept and want a quick read and introduction to accepting failure and fostering creativity in the workplace, read this short blog by the Raymond A. Mason School of Business. Freedom to fail in the workplace doesn’t have to mean trying out expensive concepts in the real world, but using simulations or focus groups can go a long way in predicting success or failure. If team members feel there will be catastrophic repercussions to ideas that fail, you may be missing out on the next big thing.
Spoiler alert – here are their five ways:
- Foster an environment where creativity is valued.
- Give employees the tools and techniques to come up with new ideas.
- Make sure employees understand the company’s goals, products, and services so employees can come up with relevant, contextual ideas.
- Create a collaborative environment that spawns conversation, problem-solving, and great ideas.
- Recognize, reward, and celebrate great ideas.
UK-based Nesta has created a free, very comprehensive DIY Toolkit – Development Impact & You, Practical Tools to Trigger & Support Social Innovation with lots of templates on how to generate new ideas and work with teams. Here’s an example of a template that may be useful – Problem Definition:
Sometimes the simplest templates can be the most powerful. This exercise can be done on an individual level as well as a group brainstorming project.
It’s worth taking some time to look through this toolkit for some fresh ideas that can bring practical ways to address innovation and creativity in the workplace.