Fail to Innovate

Consumer insights on innovation

We’ve all heard the business quote, “He who fails to plan, plans to fail.”

I suggest a variation on the quote, “He who fails to innovate, plans to fail.”  This failure to innovate is due to a fear of failure.

I have a personal philosophy  — “Make mistakes early and often, just don’t make the same mistake twice.”

That’s what I tell people I manage because I think that’s the only way we’ll learn what works and what doesn’t.

I was just reading an article in Marketing News in which Stan Sthanunathan, vice president of marketing and strategy and insights for the Coca Cola Company, was quoted as saying, “We have a tendency to penalize failure, but if you fear failure, nobody will innovate.”

In order to innovate, you need to celebrate failures as well as successes in order for risk to be seen as acceptable to the organization.

The people who feel most threatened by this change are the middle managers who are set in their ways.

If c-level executives really want innovation, they need to incent risks and change.

Change is hard.  There’s concern over losing momentum and fear of pain.  Nonetheless, people must feel free to fail.

Technology is speeding the pace of change and are allowing momentum and scale to occur more quickly.

What are relevant metrics for innovation?

  1. Number of ideas
  2. Innovation hub
  3. Number of ideas adopted (% of #1)
  4. Where ideas come from — the more sources the better
  5. Who’s involved — the more people the better

Do not have an innovation committee of a chief innovation officer.  Innovation needs to be everyone’s responsibility.

If you have a committee or someone with the title, others in the firm will not think it’s their job to innovate.

How do you promote innovation in your firm?

About Insights From Analytics

Integrated marketing professional who generates insights from analytics to increase revenue. Daily blog now resides at
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