Management Insights: Failure should be used in corporations to fuel innovation


With the increasing competition in Business, innovation has become the key driving force, world over. However, in order to continue to innovate successful products, one needs to tide over failures and stop thinking of it as something to be detested. Baba Shiv, Sanwa Bank, Limited, Professor of Marketing believes in the concept and promotes it among his Frinky Science of the Human Mind course students at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Management Insights Failure should be used in corporations to fuel innovation-global-annal-bhavesh-kumar-business

Professor Shiv explains the concept citing the example of Silicon Valley executives who fear so much that they don’t embrace any fresh idea and then see someone else capitalizing on their ingenious thinking and reaping benefits out of it by transforming into a successful business model. Here to clearly draw a distinction between people with fear and without fear are called as Type 1 and Type 2 respectively. People belonging to the Type 1 category are greater in numbers and most individuals, managers and corporations belong to the same category. The Type 1 category is largely risk averse and the idea of innovation means only more numbers for them. People from this category hardly ever achieve more than proportionate results.

The Type 2 category then includes people who associate more value with opportunities and act out of fear of losing them. Silicon Valley has seen many Type 2 success stories. These people don’t detest failures as something painful or curse and instead seek to draw out future lessons from them. Nothing is more humiliating for them then having to see others excel by embracing their creative ideas.

It’s interesting to note here that most of begin as type 2’s with our adventurous attitude and curiosity as children but then turn into Type 1s by receiving repetitive reminders and criticisms at the hands of the world for faltering.

The key question now is that how can we guide the shift of organisations from Type 1 to 2.

One way that corporations can affect the transition is through rapid prototyping under which they can brainstorm their way into developing new fresh ideas and then giving it a tangible look soon and take it for an experiment to assess its effectiveness. The whole process helps people to move from the world of abstract ideas into real world and helps the brain to substantively absorb underlying concepts in the idea in the best possible way.

Source: Stanford Graduate School of Business

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