Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Brilliant Failure

Harvard Business Review has some of the best real life applications and ideas come out of its' articles. In lieu in my recent post about, Failing Fast, they've posted a follow-up article called "In Praise of Brilliant Failure".

They point out the crucial oxymoron that we confront in the work place; we are told that we will make mistakes, that it's okay, and that we should learn from these - but then fingers are pointed, time is "wasted", and we have done nothing to increase our value.

Paul Iske points out, "There is no innovation without failure, and no failure without innovation,” says Iske. “And there is a huge difference between people failing through stupidity and failing because they had a brilliant idea whose timing or circumstances were wrong.” Instead, our failures can help highlight problems in processess, expand thinking, and become more creative.

Criteria for Brilliant Failure:
• There must be an intention to create value (in an organization or society)
• The failure must not be due to a stupid mistake
• There must be some learning
• There must be an inspiring story

Iske went on to set up an institute for Brilliant Failure because he repeatedly saw entreprenuers coming to him, and being turned away for no fault of their own. In order to help them become more successful, he proposed that failure be viewed differently.

**I love this article, and have always felt that every challenge or failure we encounter can in turn help lead us to our greatest successes.

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