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Failure sucks but instructs. In fact, there is no learning without failure

Hat tip to @Philgerb for tweeting this article from the Harvard Business Review , "Forgive and Remember: How a Good Boss Responds to Mistakes"

The Key statement I loved in this article is "No one should choose the option of failure deliberately, but trying especially hard to avoid it means taking no chances on change"

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This is why failure is so endemic to innovation. We've all seen reports of the huge percentages of new products, companies, and ideas that fail. One way to interpret them would be to guess that a lot of people who have no business trying to innovate are giving it a go anyway and bringing down the average. That would be a wrong interpretation. The reality is that the typical successful innovator experiences the agony of defeat far more often than the thrill of victory. We know this in part thanks to Professor Dean Keith Simonton, who has conducted extensive quantitative research on creative geniuses. Looking for the differences between geniuses and their more ordinary counterparts, he found that "Creativity is a consequence of sheer productivity. If a creator wants to increase the production of hits, he or she must do by risking a parallel increase in the production of misses. ... The most successful creators tend to be those with the most failures!"

Of these 4,000 ideas, 230 were thought to be promising enough to develop into a nice drawing or working prototype. Of these 230, 12 were ultimately sold. This "yield" rate is only about 1/3 of 1% of total ideas and 5% of ideas that were thought to have potential. Boyle pointed out that the success rate is probably even worse than it looks because some toys that are bought never make it to market, and of those that do, only a small percentage reap large sales and profits. As Boyle says, "You can't get any good new ideas without having a lot of dumb, lousy, and crazy ones."


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