Here is a really interesting article from the Wall Street Journal entitled Better Ideas Through FailureThe article is about how leaders can remove fear of failure in order to encourage bolder innovation.
"Failure, and how companies deal with failure, is a very big part of innovation," says Judy Estrin of Menlo Park, Calif., a founder of seven high-tech companies and author of a book on innovation. Failures caused by sloppiness or laziness are bad. But "if employees try something that was worth trying and fail, and if they are open about it, and if they learn from that failure, that is a good thing."Leaders can take many approaches to removing the fear of failure. Mr. Myhren of Grey Grey Group, New York, started handing out the "Heroic Failure" award because he was worried that fast growth at the agency, was making employees "a little more conservative, maybe a little slower." The award is for "The award is for ideas that are "edgier or riskier, or new and totally unproven,"
Michael Alter offers "Best New Mistake" awards at SurePayroll, a payroll-services company in Glenview, Ill. Only people who are trying to do a good job, make a mistake and learn from it are eligible for the $400 annual cash award. Mr. Alter describes the fallout as "paying tuition. As opposed to saying, 'You screwed up,' or, 'You messed up,' we say, 'Let's talk about what we learned.' That drives a lot of innovation," he says.
Gary Shapiro, CEO of Consumer Electronics Association, tries to make it safe to fail by talking openly about screw-ups. In his eight-page manifesto called "Gary's Guidelines, he points out that "Mistakes are OK; hiding them is not."
The interesting thing here is that all these people are not rewarding mistakes, they are rewarding risk-taking and learning. It is not failure that is being celebrated, but the courage to take risks and to learn from failure.