Why celebrating failure is important for innovation

So the blogosphere is all over GoogleX, the skunkworks ‘hub’ where only the most intractable and real problems make the cut for an ambitions group of moon-seekers – and a place where they celebrate and relish failure.

The idea that failure is good for innovation is of course nothing new; we have been banging on about celebrating failure for years. Those of us who know what it feels like to have messed up big time, or seen a dream project slip sulkily down the drain of lost hope know it is easier said than done. It is only a properly innovative, grown up company ( note: not necessarily a large one) that actually manages to deal with this stuff, never mind celebrating it. I applaude Google for making their failures as much a story as their new ( and utterly incredible) intelligent contact lenses!

Fast Company way back in 2005, cited some excellent examples of failure and its importance to innovation: from Brit James Dyson, to Italian design icon Alberto Alessi , I love their list of those who manage and flourish in the face of failure.

I particularly rate the quote from legendary sculptor Henry Moore  who said: ‘The secret of life is to have a task, something you bring everything to, every minute of the day for your whole life. And the most important thing is: It must be something you cannot possibly do.’ Now there’s a challenge to innovate if ever I saw one!

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Innovation expert with experience across multiple sectors, businesses and brands. Into digital, marketing, strategy, ideas and helping everyone explore their inner innovator.

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Posted in Case Studies, Innovation

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