Failing to innovate
Darryl Gray, DNA
021 754 837
By way of intro:
- We all design or create stuff
- sometimes we need to be ‘innovative’ and do something new
- if you don’t need to be innovative, this talk might not be for you.
- if you do need to be innovative or unique
- this talk is might be very useful
- I think the concept of failure can help enormously
Columbus’s discovery of America
- Historical importance of these accidental discoveries is HUGE
- Tend to think scientists plan everything
- But the biggest leaps are always usually unexpected and unplanned
- easy to see why:
- it’s extremely difficult to conceive of what you don’t know
- how can you know what you don’t know?
- I always use the example of the horse:
- Ask someone in 1850 what transport they wanted:
- “Faster horse that can go longer”
2Failure as an innovation strategy
- This is about deliberately carrying out
failure as a tool.
- Remember our diagram
- We know that innovation happens out here
- There are a few great solutions
- But lots of lemons
- To innovate, you need to be prepared to fail
- It’s like a game of chance
- Lotto: the more you play, the more likely success becomes
- Lotto is like a really ground-breaking innovation:
- Be prepared to fail a lot
- Winning $2 on Instant Kiwi is a much smaller innovation, much more achievable
- You need to factor this into your timelines and way of working
Failure = :-)
and more productive too
- BUT it’s also proven to be more productive way to work
- There’s a company doing quite well who adopt failure strategy
- Each employee has time to try stuff out, no pressure.
Know about design management
- But you’ll probably need to compromise with that monkey
- Design management is simple but not understood
- Give people 100% freedom when creating
- No talk of deadlines, budgets, etc.
- No idea is a bad idea
- Critical part of brainstorming
- But, once a direction or solution is agreed upon...
- It’s relentless pressure.
- This pressure causes the brain to tune out other ideas and focus on delivering.
- This is the compromise, and it is a good one in general.
- I’ve had great success with this in the past... it's never let me down
“Don’t be cool”
“Forget about good”
— Bruce Mau
“Trying to look good limits my life”
— Stefan Sagmeister
“The good is the enemy of the great”
— Milton Glaser
- When needing to be innovative or unique, good constrains you to the known and therefore you bad fail.
- Note inversion of Milton Glaser quote
- If you don’t try, you won’t fail ... or succeed.
Start anywhere, don’t stop
- So start now! Start anywhere - go, go, go!
- A common form of paralysis is not knowing where to start.
“Stand on someone’s shoulders”
“Work the metaphor”
— Bruce Mau
- All from Bruce Mau:
- Note: do what you know, or copy someone.
- Go from there...