In the world of innovation, failure is an almost unavoidable step in the process. It is discouraging and can most likely leave you wondering, “where do I go from here?”

Questioning like this is what transforms failures into opportunities for further innovation. In a New York Times article titled, “Talking About Failure Is Crucial for Growth. Here’s How to Do It Right,” Oset Babur discusses how approaching failures with the right mindset leads to productive outcomes. Here are three ways that you can utilize failures to find breakthroughs in innovating:

1. Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Action Plan
Action plans are a great way to get a team on the same page

According to Babur, “failure — both during the fact and afterward — can help to cultivate closer relationships with colleagues.” In process improvement it is important to always include your team and anyone that may be affected by your innovation. Not only will this make them more included and cooperative in the innovation process, but it will also build a better understanding of what each member of the team goes through daily. When everyone is on the same page, it is much easier to identify what the specific issues are and different ways to address them.

What to do: Plan meetings with your team where you can discuss your Key Performance Indicators, create an Action Plan to break down the innovation into tasks, evaluate what’s working and what needs to be changed through Plus/Delta’s, and/or generate ideas with an Idea Tree.

2. Where did things go wrong?

GS Utility Process Map (Cropped)
Process Maps put everything into perspective

Babur notes that a major key to making failure productive is to figure out the kinds of failure you are facing. By looking into the precise obstacles you face as you innovate, you avoid making unnecessary or ineffective changes. Dig deeper into your processes to get to the root of the problem.

What to do: One of the most powerful tools we teach at Peak Academy is the Process Map. With your team: go over each step of the process that you’re innovating, determine how much time each step usually takes, identify where the “wastes” in the process is, and brainstorm how to reduce the timeliest steps.

3. Failure is Not the End of the World

CPE Showcasing Innovation
People are motivated to innovate when you celebrate success

To create a culture of innovation in the workplace, it is important to reduce the negative stigma surrounding failure. Members of the team are more inclined to innovate when there is less concern about failure and more motivation to take on new challenges.

What to do: The best way to encourage positivity in the innovation process is to celebrate the successes along with addressing the failures. Think of what is working in other aspects of your innovation and find ways to apply some of those strategies to areas where there are struggles.

How you approach failure is crucial to figuring out the next steps in your innovations. The more willing you are to engage with what went wrong, the more likely you are to find winning strategies in your innovations.

To read Babur’s full article “Talking About Failure Is Crucial for Growth. Here’s How to Do It Right,” Click Here




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