June 26, 2012
FAILURE: How failure breeds success

For a generation of managers weaned on the rigors of Six Sigma error-elimination programs, embracing failure — gasp! — is close to blasphemy. Stefan H. Thomke, a professor at Harvard Business School and author of Experimentation Matters, says that when he talks to business groups, “I try to be provocative and say: ‘Failure is not a bad thing.’ I always have lots of people staring at me, [thinking] ‘Have you lost your mind?’ That’s O.K. It gets their attention. [Failure] is so important to the experimental process.”

That it is. Crucial, in fact. After all, that’s why true, breakthrough innovation — an imperative in today’s globally competitive world, in which product cycles are shorter than ever — is so extraordinarily hard. It requires well-honed organizations built for efficiency and speed to do what feels unnatural: Explore. Experiment. Foul up, sometimes. Then repeat.

Read more of this Newsweek article here.

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