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Failure is not an option

Last year I was requested to work on a new format of a workshop for a specific industry, together with a small team of very knowledgeable people. The concept evolved to a short, high impact project offering that we felt had great potential. Was it a hit? It was more a flop, since we were not able to get traction despite our promotional efforts.

Instead of pushing harder, as traditional business logic may indicate, we just let it go. We have not invested much efforts and we had only developed the concept for checking interest, but we had not build the complete set of materials that a new product requires to be executed. No success, but no big harm either.

But, here is when with the “but” the story become interesting. Because of the communication efforts for our proposition, we got people interested from other industry. That situation gave us to the opportunity to run a project with one of major customers and partners where we followed the structure we had developed. And do you what? The project was strong success, and we were able to probe that the imagined design was very powerful indeed.

The story does not stop there. I was asked recently to develop a format to deliver Digital Business Models projects applying the research of my colleagues from Services Innovation and the Innovation Center Network.

Perhaps not an easy task, but now I was prepared. I have leveraged the insights from the “failed” initiative plus the experience of the successful project to create a concept. And it went very well. We have run a few pilots already, on customers with complex challenges, and the results are quite promising. It will very likely to become a next year hit.

I was asking to myself. Has the first project actually failed?. Perhaps innovation is more about an open attitude than big ideas, more a journey than a task. Please let me know your thoughts.


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