"Living with Risk and Embracing Failure".
If you want to be truly innovative in an organization,
you are asking people to spend time on taking risks.
You are asking people to risk their careers, their jobs,
their very livelihood, and I've seen many examples of people being told, "Yes, yes
take a risk, help us innovate,
do great things", but if it fails,
they are never, ever anything other than tarred with failure of that risk.
People in organizations won't take risks,
unless they're very, very brave or very, very stupid.
Let us look at an example where it can happen.
If you look at 3M, most people will probably not
remember that 3M originally was a sandpaper manufacturer.
But they allowed people to spend their own time
which they paid for own pet projects, most of which failed.
In fact, the vast majority of those projects failed,
they didn't fire a single person who generated
any failed project or wasted any company time or money.
But interestingly, it was those pet projects that led to the creation of masking tape,
scotch tape, and post-its notes.
None of those products which are now actually the porosity of 3M,
arose because of any corporate processes for innovation,
they arose because they allowed people to play with ideas.
They made sure that people if they did take risks and they failed,
that they were not effectively disadvantaged.
That is something that very few organizations can cope with.
To take a risk in a modern organization is to
risk your career and the livelihood of your family,
and ultimately, organizations don't like failure.
They're very happy for people to take risks,
but they make it very clear to either fully informed you that if your risk does not pay off,
it will be your responsibility. Make no mistake.
If you take a risk and it pays off,
it'll be the company's responsibility.
But that is a very strong inbuilt concept of modern organizational culture.
Organizations have shareholders, they have shareholders who want to see profits month in,
month out, they do not want to see numbers going up and going down.
People wants to be able to measure people,
people do not risk in organizations unless they are very, very brave.
Also if you're going to innovate in organizations,
we have to find ways of living with risk and embracing failure.
The whole concept of failing fast is increasingly an interesting one, which says,
''Failure isn't a problem,
but don't fail a lot and don't fail slowly,
fail quickly and get onto something else.''
But the concept of risk and failure is
very important issue for directors in modern organizations.