Wednesday 28 September 2011

The Heroic Failure award

Award Thanks Vince for notifying me of this article from the Wall Street Journal entitled Better Ideas Through Failure

Here we read about Mr. Myhren of Grey Grey Group, New York, who recently 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,"

We also read about Michael Alter's "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.

We also read that "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."

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 learn from failure.


Boris Jaeger said...

“Bad times have a scientific value. These are occasions a good learner would not miss.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Cheers! Boris

P.S.: "Best Practices", bah hunbugh! ;)

Nick Milton said...

Thanks Boris

re "Bah Humbug", see here

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