Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Entrepreneurs have nothing to fear but fear of failure

I have heard this before, but in this case I hold up my hands and say that I used creative swiping and stole the title from Sir Richard Branson. You really should read his interesting article on the topic.

Branson makes a very interesting point about fear of failure but how can innovation actually fail? It is quite simple, the only way is to DO NOTHING. Innovation is all about getting things done (or trying in the case of Virgin) and learning from the result whether it is success or failure. This way you can a) try again or b) use your acquired knowledge in some other way. The route forward may not necessarily be a straight line but you will move forward and potentially gain competitive advantage.

Thomas Edison is reported to have made over 2000 attempts at creating the first light bulb. His view of this was that he found 2000 ways not to make a light bulb. Imagine that there was no patent and a competitor had no knowledge of what Edison had done. Even if Edison was on attempt 1999 he was still 1999 steps ahead of his competitor, none of which he would have made without failing!!

In the words of Sir Richard Branson

“If you can identify and learn from your mistakes, you have a much greater chance of bouncing back from them -- and succeeding the next time”

but first of course you must actually do something or you are guaranteed to fail.

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