Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Celebrating Failures

Yesterdays I’d posted on Accidental innovation and the positive roles which organization can play in fostering a learning culture by helping individuals come with innovative thoughts on different processes and ideas.

Another interesting article on Business week has a story on how everyone fears failure, but breakthroughs depend on it. The best companies embrace their mistakes and learn from them.

"Getting good" at failure, however, doesn't mean creating anarchy out of organization. It means leaders -- not just on a podium at the annual meeting, but in the trenches, every day -- who create an environment safe for taking risks and who share stories of their own mistakes. It means bringing in outsiders unattached to a project's past. It means carving out time to reflect on failure, not just success.

In addition to making sure performance evaluations take a long-term view, managers should also think about celebrating smart failures. (Those who repeat their mistakes, of course, should hardly be rewarded.) Thomas D. Kuczmarski, a Chicago new-product development consultant, even proposes "failure parties" as a way of recognizing that it's part of the creative process. "What most companies do is put a wall around a failure as if it's radioactive," says Kuczmarski.

Do organizations spend time analyzing failures?

Do we need case studies on failures to make amends for such errors?

I think it will really set the context of a dynamic and self learning organization if we were to think about implementing such ideas.

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