InnovationReflections

I contemplate the Negativity Bias, as it is defined by Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman. The theory claims that matters of negative nature has more impact on us, than those of positive nature. Thus, we need to grasp, seek and multiply the positive, especially when we live in a world of innovation and entrepreneurship, so that we find strength to move on. We must celebrate success.

Why we must celebrate success

To break through a goal we have set or a barrier we find in front of us, is of importance, but how often to we bring out the cakes, sing the songs and send each other the so appreciated “Well Done!” notes?

Innovation and Entrepreneurship is based on trials, failures, iteration, trusting the unknown and entering the land of no trails. We must fail in order to succeed, else we are not likely to differentiate what we do, from others. At many points I have joined the ranks in saying that we should celebrate failures, as these are somewhat proof of an ambition beyond the seemingly impossible. As we are bound to be hit by the negative impact from all minor failures, we also are at risk of loosing tempo. The daily work for us entrepreneurs and innovators are often filled with small failures, “no’s” and unreached goals. We can’t let this beat us down.

The theory of Negative Bias claims that the impact of negative happenings have relatively its importance, much higher impact than those of a positive nature. So, only if we force ourselves to recognize, appreciate and possibly celebrate the small every day positive matters can we compensate for the Negativity Bias. This, or we are at risk of caving under in a spiral with no boost, depression and lack of fortitude.

This, or we are at risk of caving under.

I believe it to be important that we also raise our children in this manner. Celebrating minor success, is as important as processing failures to learn.

Positive, not a Psycopath

So, someone that has been hit by failure and refuses to recognize this, might just recognize but rather choose to move on. Not give up. This is in a sense connected to Grit, which is claimed to be a most important factor for success.

It is not necessarily a trait of a psychopath to refuse to get stuck in realities, it might just be a way of processing a vision, combined with that so important determination. Like an athlete setting out to braking a world record. Doing something so many have failed to do, you are likely to fail many times, until training, circumstances and talent takes you all the way.

I hail those that persevere.

Innovation

Violin bwI am an advocate of failures, my mantra being: Failure is not a result; it is part of a process. However there are forms of failure that have fatal impact and these can be avoided through leadership, focus, guts and a bit of good luck.

Failure can have many faces

One typical form of failure is that we do not find a working or acceptable solution to a given challenge or need. When a technology proves to be not working or a solution not to be accepted by the market, often enough we see this as failing projects. We can learn and iterate and solve this, or just move on.

If we move on, usually it is for the benefit of another more promising project, which is part of a contracting process forcing us to select were we spend our resources. If we redevelop and try again, we have pushed ourselves to hopefully finding a better solution, i.e. failure was a success.

Killing projects

Killing a project can be hard, but important. Making the right choice for the right reasons early on, tends to touch the efficiency curve of Innovation Portfolio management.

As we are still looking for a cost to market and revenue at market ratio and since this is to be discounted based on a limited time frame, our ability to be efficient affects the overall performance even more.

The lethal failure

Another category of failures, being that we do not have resources, strategy, stamina or guts to Innovate is the dangerous part. This trap has to be avoided at any cost; else it will cost all your revenues, customer relations and talents working for you.

Failing to innovate will over time be lethal to your organization.

When organizations like Kodak, Swedish Postal Services, printed newspapers or any other stale giant lack leaders that interpret mega trends and weak signals and guide their teams to finding solutions and offerings that fill needs and drive change, then we know we are in for a kill. And it is bloody. People lose their jobs, values are destroyed, investors lose capital, and brands are ruined and on and on… however new thinking entrepreneurs gain ground for competition- and I have to admit that I like this.

The cost of closing down, rather than Innovating, collaborating, thinking in new boxes, redesigning, shaping new business models etc., is however incomparable.

There are so many ways of innovating and it is so energizing, as opposed to the contrary. Through corporate venturing methods involving periscope investments and other innovation strategies, I have seen organizations rejuvenate their business and delivering value to all stakeholders.

Leadership for Innovation

There is no alternative in today’s business environment, than to seek and elaborate, discover new ways and continue to disrupt the common grounds.

This is a matter of leadership. Lead for success, embrace failures, and celebrate passion, engagement and efforts. Dare to build your whole organization to lead, don’t focus only on single leaders. Form your culture and operations to actually support innovation and steer its focus towards the exploration and exploitation of new findings.