Innovation is an inherent gamble for any company and it requires great leadership. A great leader knows their industry and recognizes opportunities to explore new options and innovations for their business. Innovation is always a risk. A major overhaul of a product may be a disastrous failure. Failure is an important piece of success that seems to have been forgotten in our relentless drive for perfection however. All of the greatest thinkers of our time and times past knew that they would only make progress and achieve success through hundreds, even thousands, of trials that ended in failure. It would be great to be successful the first time out in a new venture but true growth happens through success and failure together. We learn a lot through our failures. Robert Brands knows this and writes about the subject more below.
Innovation is impossible to achieve without taking a necessary amount of risk. In a world where the success rate of new product entries in the grocery business is 1 in 100, it is inevitable that every success sees failures along the way. An effective innovation leader should encourage creativity and risk taking, while also practicing a tolerance for failure.
In order to foster initiative and innovation, ask yourself these questions.
- Do you allow free research and development (R&D) time?
- Do you invest in innovation: money, people, resources?
- Do you celebrate failure and risk taking?
In a tough economy the willingness to take risks can wither, so it’s critical to let team members know that failure will not result in punitive measures. A strong leader practices failure management by setting and agreeing on the risk taking bandwidth or budget. It is ok to fail but that failure should be seen and recognized as a learning experience.
It is the job of leaders to know their industry and have a vision for what the future holds for their company. This is imperative so that they are able to allocate appropriate levels of devotion to innovation. Innovation requires that teams know that failure is an option. Failure is simply a step in the right direction. Leaders must be able to project this attitude and truly believe it in order to get the most out of their teams. A team that is constantly afraid of the repercussions of failure will consistently underperform. Only through true risk-taking can you achieve innovative results. Innovation requires great leadership.