As I am working on my upcoming book, SmartFailing, which looks into how companies can learn more from failures in an innovation process, I will write a series of blog posts based on questions that came to me as I went through the key findings in my recent survey.
In this first post, I focus on the overarching question of why organizations do not learn more from failures in their innovation efforts. It would be great to hear your views on this topic. Please feel free to go around or beyond the below questions that only serve as discussion starters.
Our survey indicates that innovation teams blame business units or the organization in general for failure. What do you see as the main reasons for this?
I often meet people who believe that silos and silo thinking really hinder innovation. What is your view on this?
What impact does it have on an organization when executives distance themselves from failure rather than trying to learn from it?
Why are executives distancing themselves from failure?
Our survey shows that senior people are more positive than employees on how well their companies deal with innovation-related failure. What do you see as the main reasons for this?
In some instances we heard that senior personnel try to sweep failure under the rug or even spin a failure as a success. What kind of impact will such behaviour have on learning from failure and on developing an innovation culture in general?
Another problem people cited quite frequently was “unrealistic expectations from top management.” Do you have any thoughts on how to address this problem?
Among the possible cause of innovation failure that drew a big response in our survey was “too much focus on products and technology rather than considering all aspects of bringing innovation to market. What are your ideas on how to overcome this particular problem?
How can companies change the mindset of their innovation teams and employees in general so that innovation is viewed more broadly than being about just products and technologies?
I look forward to hearing your thoughts.