On the Quality of Failure

Bengt-Arne Vedin

Abstract


No innovation without failed experiments. No acquisition of competency without hard work, efforts to translate mistakes and insufficient – failed – attempts into mastery. The human condition is one defined by trial and error. Success equates with narrow escape from failure, whereas failure may be a success just missed. The purpose of management can be said to achieve success, so the management of failure is a key one, seeking to turn failure into profit. Almost no successful solutions remain eternally, so signals indicating that they have arrived in their twilight zone are important. Success may be too comforting and lulling, creating a dangerous success lock-in. Courting failure by acting against conventional wisdom and routine intuitions may, though risky, generate huge payoffs. A productive failure management should appreciate that failure is a way to uncertainty reduction, to better information and knowledge, new wisdom and new intuitions. Failure can and should be celebrated and harvested. The most successful mineral prospectors are those who drill more holes; while their percentage of dry ones is average, their number of lucky ones makes for success. The same holds for ideas, where there is the additional benefit that a larger number of ideas, diverse as they are, makes for improved idea handling proficiency.




Keywords


Management, Failure, Success, Innovation, Success Lock-In, Learning

Full Text:

PDF

References


"The Failure Issue”. (2011). Harvard Business Review, 89, (4), 1-142.

Taleb, N. N. (2012). Anti-Fragile. London: Penguin Books.

Ormerod, P. (2005). Why Most Things Fail. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

Vedin, B-A. (2013). Teaching and Learning by Way of Failure? Journal of arts & Humanities, 2 (6), 154-159.

Harford, T. (2011). Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Gopalakrishnan, R. (2013). Supporting creative failures. Business Standard, August 8, 2013. Retrieved from website: http://www.business-standard.com/article/opinion

/supporting-creative-failures-113080801374_1.html

Cf Langer, E. J. (1997). The Power of Mindful learning. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

Autin, F. & Croizet, J-C. (2012). Improving Working Memory Efficiency by Reframing Metacognitive Interpretation of Task Difficulty. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 141, (4) 610-618. Can be retrieved via website: http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2012/03/academic-pressure.aspx

How Your Failures Can Help You Succeed. (2013). Entrepreneur, January 23, 2013. Retrieved from website: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/225199

Dillon, K. (2011) Interview: I Think of My Failures as a Gift. Harvard Business Review, 89, (4),86-89.

McArdle, M. (2014).The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well Is the Key to Success. New York, NY: Penguin.

Munk’s tale. (2014). The Economist, 411, (8883) April 19, 58.

Dennett, D. C. (1995). Darwin's Dangerous Idea. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

Cf website: http://billsmusings.com/?p=89

Dennett, D. C. (2013). Intuition Pumps And Other Tools for Thinking. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Co.

Kim, S. & al. Outside advantage: Can social rejection fuel creative thought? Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 142, (3), 605-611. doi: 10.1037/a0029728

How 5 Successful Entrepreneurs Bounced Back After Failure. Entrepreneur, 23 January 2013. Retrieved from website: www.entrepreneur.com/article/225204

Utterback, J., & al. (2006). Designed-inspired Innovation. Singapore: World Scientific.

Kim, W. C. & Mauborgne, R. (2005). Blue Ocean Strategy. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

Christensen, C. (1997). The Innovator's Dilemma. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review Press

Grove, A. (1996). Only the Paranoid Survive. New York, NY: Currency/Doubleday.

Gayford, M. (2010). Man with a Blue Scarf. New York, NY: Thames & Hudson.

McCorduck, P. (1990). Aaron’s Code: Meta-Art, Artificial Intelligence, and the Work of Harold Cohen. New York, NY: W. H. Freeman & Co.

Wittgenstein, L. (1922). Tractatus logico-philosophicus. London: Routledge.

Monk, R. (1990). Ludwig Wittgenstein. London: Jonathan Cape.

Muntaner, R. (1328/1332). Crònica. Xirivella.

How Early Success Can Lead To Failure. Retrieved from website: http://blog.thefailcon.com/post/63715884489/how-early-success-can-lead-to-failure

Harford, Op cit.

Lewis, S. (2014). The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

Vedin, B-A. (1992). Teknisk Revolt! Stockholm: Atlantis.

Taleb, N. N. (2007). The Black Swan. London: Penguin.

Gunther McGrath, R. (2011). Failing By Design. Harvard Business Review, 89 (4), 77-83.

Gunther McGrath, R. (2013). The End of Competitive Advantage: How to Keep Your Strategy Moving as Fast as Your Business. Boston: Harvard Business Review Press

Sitkin, S. (1992). Learning through failure: the strategy of small losses. Research in organizational behavior, 14, 231-266.

Schoemaker, P. J. H. & Gunth, R. E. (2006) The Wisdom of Deliberate Mistakes. Harvard Business Review, 84, (5), 109-115.

Ayres, I. (2007). Super Crunchers. New York, NY: Bantam.

(1968). Management of New Products. Chicago, IL: Booz, Allen & Hamilton.

Vedin, B-A. (2004). Funding Growth in an Age of Austerity (comment). Harvard Business Review, 82 (11), 143-144.

Fleck, L. (1935). Entstehung und Entwicklung einer Wißenschaftlichen Tatsache. Basel: Schwabe.

Preview of research to be published in a forthcoming issue of Physical Review Letters, Retrieved from website: http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/2014/apr/22/physicists-create-frictionless-flow-by-adding-more-friction

Tata press release, from website: http://www.tata.com/company/releasesinside/e!$$$$!ICT4Y!$$$!!$$$$!SM=/TLYVr3YPkMU=

Retrieved from website: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/2917452/Youve-made-a-mistake-The-boss-will-buy-you-a-drink.html

Tetlock, P.E. (2005). Expert Political Judgment: How Good is it? How Can we Know? Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Rosenhan, D. L. (1973) On being sane in insane places. Science, New Series, 179, (4070), 250-258. Also available at website: http://www.bonkersinstitute.org/rosenhan.html

FailCon website: http://thefailcon.com/

Dennett, D. C. (2013). Intuition pumps, op cit.

Vedin, B-A. (1980). Corporate Culture for Innovation. Lund: Studentlitteratur/Chartwell-Bratt

Hofstede, G. (1980). Culture’s Consequences. London: Sage. See also website: http://geert-hofstede.com/dimensions.html

Retrieved from website: http://atlasofprejudice.tumblr.com/post/80937352126/20-ways-to-slice-the-european-continent-from-atlas




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18533/ijbsr.v4i5.517

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.




Copyright (c)

 ...........................................................................................................................

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

............................................................................................................................

If you find difficulties in submitting manuscript please forward your doc file to support@thejournalofbusiness.org. Our support team will assist you in submission process and other technical matters.

In order to get notifications on inbox please add  this domain thejournalofbusiness.org in your email safe list.

International journal of business and social research (Print)
ISSN 2164-2540

International journal of business and social research (Online)
ISSN 2164-2559

[International Journal of Business and Social Research (IJBSR) previously published by MIR Center for Socio-Economic Research, MD, USA. From February 2018 this journal is published by the LAR Center Press, OR, USA]