Fail fast or die slow

I wish innovation was seen more often as an opportunity to satisfy the customer instead of a necessary management activity. To fail fast is part of a learning cycle.

The entrepreneurship required should be taught with the same priority as technology related topics. Learning needs to be embraced and made an integral part of company’s culture.

An employee shouldn’t need explicit approval to experiment and to innovate; innovation implies at least some creative spontaneity and autonomy.

One important aspect in this context is less dominant in the old world which is crucial for success in digitization:

The fail fast mentality

During my time in the US, I met people who lost their job, worked in construction and joined big companies as managers again.

If you’d have this in your CV in the old world, you can literally bury your career, instead of earnig the deserved respect to get back up again.

This creates an environment of fear where no one stands up and fights for an innovative idea.

In addition we are losing an important source for innovation, where thought patterns are transferred from another industry or life situation.

This is not supposed to sound like nothing is working. As a matter of fact there is a lot that works pretty well, especially in hardware centric business, where upfront planning rules.

Hardware business significantly differs in its cost structure from software business. It requires much more focus on the product cost during production, such as reducing plastic etc.

With software on the other side, cost is more or less fixed (except Ops) and the main lever is value. This is where concepts such as validated learning, MVP, etc. are so important while the product is already on the market to enable continuous learning.

How does your company make sure this learning is part of the culture? Do you embrace the fail fast mentality?

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