Skip to content

Principles of the failure economy

Back to all articles

We have all heard of the fail-fast principle. In fact it’s quite overused now and most folk are developing a laissez-faire attitude to its mention. I do believe, however, that this principle goes hand in hand with another principle which gives it some more context – plan to fail.

Sounds crazy I know. But if you measure rate of failure, and it’s say around 10% of all of your experiments, this is a clear sign that you are not pushing the boundaries. You are thinking incrementally and not taking the types of risks that could produce significant or transformational change. Setting that % is up to each team and organisation.

My advice. Do something bold, plan for failure and measure it. Get that figure up to 30-50%. Shift the thinking.

However, this principle in itself requires a third to “balance the force” so to speak – fail smart.

If you can’t pull the plug when you need to, it could lead to some costly failures and your cost to learn will be big. So avoid the gollum effect…”its all mine my precious”

So here they are:
Fail fast; Plan to fail and fail smart. You need all three. I suspect more, but thats all my train trip allows for.

#innovationmanagement #designthinking