Entrepreneurs Think of Failure Like Others Think of Learning

Entrepreneurs think of failure like others think of learning - Peter Sims, IdeaFestival 2012

This isn't an endorsement of the IdeaFestival, but it might as well be. Think Jar:

To better navigate complexity and spark innovation we need creative problem solving and fresh thinking more than ever. In terms of where to start, you need to begin with your own mind and shake up stiff patterns of thinking first!

Think wide, then narrow the results, according to the piece.

....If there is one thing I’ve found makes a difference to navigate complexity and solve problems creatively, it is less around rigid tools and more around learning to think flexibly and to have well developed critical thinking skills. It’s a both-and approach of being able to move fluidly between divergent wild thinking and laser sharp practical questioning to converge on actionable solutions. And it takes lots of practice and lots of making yourself look like a fool. Lots of practice and lots of fails. (emphasis supplied)

Creativity and innovation with value require a beginner's mind and an experienced hand. And, as the article says, it's a difficult skill to master. It also sounds a lot like what happens during meditative practice, the goal of which is to attend quietly to the moment while simultaneously withholding judgement about any single intrusion.

Over the course of time each of us develops a shorthand for dealing with everyday problems, and these mental models supply ready made answers that may or may not be helpful. Successful creators, though, begin with a willingness to bypass (while not discounting) what experience and their pre-frontal cortex might be telling them. I've often wondered what useful advice professional actors might share with decision makers, and believe theaters might cultivate a completely new and profitable sideline by hosting and training business leaders, who must, after all, act as if every day. Treading that fine line between make believe and belief-made takes practice.

As for the ability to discriminate between possible outcomes, one of the more useful methods is simply to try out ideas by making "little bets," gambles with small penalties for failure. These small acts are an important strategy for artists and tinkerers alike.

Does your organization have an office or group with the freedom to innovate and fail?

Enjoy the author of "Little Bets," Peter Sims, talking about that subject in the IdeaFestival video above.

Stay curious.