Failure, by nature, is woven into the process of innovation. The everyday stories we hear of successful startups often disguise the reality that in fact 90% of startups result in failure.
Since a startup is the embodiment of innovation, one can draw the conclusion that roughly 90% of innovative ideas are unsuccessful.
Therefore, many organisations look at innovation as less than worth the time and effort, able to accept nothing less than success. Even with high risk of failure, continually innovating improves chances of hitting a successful idea that will make up for the 90% that didn’t quite make it.
There are countless cultural influences that affect the way people view failure, the most notable being that those who don’t stigmatise it, build world renowned startup hubs.
A common example of this is Silicon Valley. Often regarded as the tech startup capital of the world, many people forget that it teems with defeated ideas and businesses.
The reason this area is so successful directly links to the failure encompassed within it. Silicon Valley culture does not denounce unsuccessful businesses, it instead makes a collective effort to learn from them. This enables companies to avoid repeating mistakes and makes failed endeavours a step forward in overall success.
A second example, Israel, has similar traits to its California counterpart. Buzzing with startups, Israel is often recognised for its innovative culture. This culture is filled with more failed companies than successful ones.
Rather than defaming failure, the Israeli government has taken steps to accept and even encourage it. The government grants risk free loans to startups that do not have to be paid back if the company fails. However, if the company is successful, it owes the government a 3% annual royalty.
These examples of accepting failure and encouraging innovation are large-scale illustrations of what companies should be implementing within their own cultures.
Day to day, failure drives innovation. Without accepting failure, you squash the generation of innovative ideas whether it be in a company or a country. The culture created has a large impact on innovative spirit. Simply telling someone to generate ideas is not enough to create long-term innovation. You must forge a culture that does everything from implementing ideas to accepting failures.
Since innovation is necessary for a company’s survival, experiencing failure and learning from mistakes is equally imperative.