Innovation and failure are often bedfellows. Many of the great intentions and inventors of our times left behind a trail of failures in the path to their victory. One of the reasons for this is that you can only fail if you try, and any person who tells you they have never failed is either lying or has never taken a big risk. The people who made their mark in any given industry are always those who aren’t afraid to fail which opens up the possibilities of greater success.
For example, if you are launching a new online plant delivery service it would be a prudent strategy to surround yourself with people who had failed at launching their own plant delivery services or similar projects. Who better would know the bumps along the road to success than those who had been derailed by them? Perhaps you found one person whose shipping was problematic and their plants arrived dead. They would have a base of knowledge for how to avoid those problems in your business. Maybe another person had too many types of plants on their website and the ones that didn’t sell hurt their bottom line when the inventory they had died. This person would know which types of plants people want to buy and how a business, especially early on, can focus on those varieties to drive up initial gains and sustain the business.
There are numerous major companies who have found that people work better and are more successful if they have a sense of autonomy. If they feel as though they can attempt to innovate even at the risk of failing. To build an innovative team, you must give your team the leeway to innovate even if the risk is failure. Failure can be a fire through which an employee can forge themselves into a successful risk taker who will help innovate your company.
A good way to suss out these failures is to ask questions in interviews about failure and how they handled it. Most likely a person will not populate their resume with a list of times they failed, but in an interview setting they will probably be willing to talk through a time they failed but came out on the other side stronger for it. Questions about failure should be on the list at any interview.
Failure is a scary word in business but it doesn’t have to be. Really failure should be looked at with the same respect as any business experience. Failure will happen but those who have failed will learn from that experience and they will be emboldened to try again and succeed even their wildest expectations.
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This article was written by Sam Rogal.
Sam Rogal is a writer and professional living in New York City. He has worked in the film and theater industry and graduated top of his class with a degree in Communications.