Making the Most Out of Failure When Innovating

“If you don’t fail sometimes, you are not being ambitious enough.” – Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google.

This quote perfectly encapsulates the importance of embracing failure on the road to innovation. While innovation is crucial for businesses to stay competitive in today's fast-paced environment, the path to success is rarely a smooth one. Along the way, companies will encounter obstacles and failures. However, the key to success is not avoiding defeat altogether but rather learning from it and using it to improve future efforts. By viewing failure as a valuable learning opportunity, businesses can keep moving forward and stay ahead of the game.

An example of this is Twitter. Originally founded as a podcasting company called Odeo, when Apple's iTunes disrupted the market, the company realised that it could not compete. The team decided to pivot and focus on a side project, a short messaging service, which eventually became Twitter. The pivot proved to be a success as Twitter quickly gained traction and became one of the largest and most influential social media platforms in the world.

In this listicle, we'll discuss several strategies for making the most out of failure when innovating. Get rready for a valuable learning experience. 


1. Reframe failure as a learning opportunity

One of the biggest roadblocks to successful innovation is the fear of failure. According to a study by Harvard Business Review, 70% of new products and services fail to return their cost of capital. But what if, instead of viewing failure as a setback, we looked at it as a valuable learning experience? By reframing failure in this way, we begin to see the opportunities for growth and improvement that it provides.

In an article by Dave Hengarter, he highlights the importance of embracing failure and viewing it as a learning opportunity. He explains that the fear of failure can often hold individuals and companies back from taking risks and pursuing innovation. However, by shifting our perspective and recognizing that failure is an inherent part of the learning and growth process, we can start to take advantage of its benefits.

KICKBOX a tool that can aid in this process by providing a structured approach to identify and analyze the root cause of failure. By understanding the underlying reasons behind a failure, one can make informed decisions to improve future iterations of a product or process, leading to greater success in innovation.


2. Embrace a culture of experimentation

Embracing a culture of experimentation is another critical strategy for making the most out of failure when innovating. Companies that foster a culture of experimentation are more likely to innovate successfully. According to a study by, such organizations are three times more likely to outperform their peers.

Encourage your team members to come up with new ideas and test them out, even if they may not work out as planned. For instance, by utilizing KICKBOX, Swisscom has empowered its employees to dedicate 20% of their time to innovation, birthing unbelievable results.


3. Be open to feedback and willing to pivot

One of the critical benefits of failure is the opportunity to receive feedback. Whether dealing with customers, team members, or partners, take the time to listen and understand what could have gone wrong and where improvements can be made.

According to research from the Standish Group, only 16.2% of IT projects were completed on time and within budget. The primary reason for this was a lack of user involvement and the inability to be flexible in response to feedback and changes in project requirements. By being open to feedback and willing to pivot, you can better understand the needs and perspectives of your stakeholders, leading to better decision-making and increased chances of success.


4. Celebrate and share small successes 

It's easy to focus on the negatives when things don't go as planned. Nonetheless, it's important to acknowledge and celebrate the small successes along the way. Sharing these wins with the team will help to build morale and drive inspiration to continue pushing forward.


5. Use a Structured Approach to Innovation

A proper strategy for innovation can ensure that your efforts are well-planned and executed and that you are continuously learning and improving. KICKBOX guides companies through the innovation process, from idea generation to commercialization. It provides tools and templates for tracking progress and analyzing results. KICKBOX, along with the KICKBOOK,  has helped companies to stay organized and on track, increasing the chances of success, like in the case of Siemens Energy.

Armed with the proper tools and expertise, you can expect an innovative company culture right around the corner. It's time to have the right mindset when it comes to failure. 

Let us give you and your team the tools to promote innovation in your company. If you're rready to transform your business in all aspects, then reach out to us.

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