I owe this rule to my time at 3M.
Their culture of innovation was based on several things, but the one that resonated with me was how conceptual failures by 3M’s engineering and science areas (so-called bad ideas) were not tossed away.
Of course there is the famous Post It Note story.
There are many more were an idea that was first, second or even longer a failure. But, thanks to good process of documenting the idea and the failures, with the most important part of having the ‘failure’ reviewed occasionally to give it another shot.
The innovative companies understand that you should never give up on any idea.
Some ideas are just not ready due to –
- the organization is not ready for that large a leap
- the technology is not available to make it a reality
- the solution to make it successful is not present
Regardless of your organizations industry or role, you can have it be highly innovative, by being fostering an atmosphere of tolerating failure and reviewing your failures for future successes.
The more innovative you want to be the higher level of failure you need to be able to tolerate.