Innovation is necessarily risky, being based on the concept of novelty; we are either trying a new idea, an existing idea in a new market, or maybe trying to create a new market altogether.
Lean and agile principles help us deal with risks and unknowns, by focusing on validated learning, deferring decisions, responding to change, but even when we fail to apply them, we might sometimes achieve some level of “success” nonetheless.
But what does “success” mean?
Can we really appreciate the importance of an exploratory approach, of validating ideas as we go, without defining what success (and hence failure) does looks like?
Going from a personal experience developing an innovative service for a large european company, where we failed to apply lean and agile principles, I explore the idea of success and how a project can be completed on time, on scope and on budget and win the hearts of customers, and still be a (bad) failure when we consider what could have been.