Innovation needs mistakes and failure: the stony path to error culture


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Innovation means for Companyto try new things. But new is also error-prone. Dealing with mistakes is therefore crucial for a successful and innovative future. So companies need a culture of mistakes.

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Stefan Dudas is a business expert for meaning.

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Errors have consequences

Mistakes are bad! Even as children, everyone has learned: they have consequences, usually an immediate "punishment", but above all negative feelings. At school there are bad grades and at home a podium by the parents.

We take these experiences on the subject of mistakes into our lives - with far-reaching consequences: we believe that we must know everything and know everything. It is "embarrassing" not knowing something, or even worse, making a mistake.

Mistakes are there for learning

Many people have never dared to do anything themselves. But that's exactly what they like to point out to others who have once failed professionally or generally in their lives. Sitting at home on the safe sofa making fun of other people is easy and safe. On television, there are enough formats that allude to it.

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And now suddenly you should recognize mistakes as a chance of learning? Changing these deep thought patterns is anything but easy. But also feasible, as Toyota with the "Toyota Production Systems" proves. Employees in production are told that if mistakes happen, the company must learn from them. This is a small equivalent of the amount that costs the error. So it's worse to cover up a mistake than to make a mistake.

Make meaningful and meaningless mistakes

Every solution is only as good as it is supported by executives and implemented by employees. That's why transparency and communication are always crucial. If nobody knows why it is important to learn from mistakes, it will be covered up further. Error culture has no chance if the internal culture is characterized by resentment and elbow mentality.

So it's worth thinking about what types of errors can occur. Of course, the "meaningless" mistakes should be avoided. Through checklists routine errors can be eliminated as far as possible. But the "meaningful" mistakes, from which important insights can be gained, carry the company further.

Allow and analyze errors

The first time that an error culture is talked about in meetings of the management, the uncertainty is formally noticeable. After all, there is a clear attitude: we do not want to lose money, so we do not make mistakes.

But what if the company wants to be innovative? Want to approach new ideas, new products or target groups? Does not it then need the "crazy", the dreamers and creatives who may be able to come up with a sparkling idea with their ideas? Every innovative company commits an incredible number of mistakes. But these companies are learning a lot.

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Thinking is mandatory

If the discussion about what your company is supposed to be, even a hint of innovation, you should talk about your culture of mistakes. Ask employees what innovation might be next in your industry and what dangers lurk.

If you only get individual feedback from a hundred employees, you should definitely about the error culture and the mediated Sense thinking about work. Because thinking in innovative companies is not free, but a duty. However, you have to allow this culture.

Trust changed

The simplest approach to an error culture is to implement what has already been formulated in most companies in the mission statement. Man, and in this case the employees, should really be the focus. This includes communication. And in both directions. The supervisor should always have an open ear for the employee, not just the 20 minutes in the annual meeting.

If values ​​such as openness, transparency, passion, optimism, courage, respect or trust are in the mission statement, these should be a commitment. By being lived, an internal culture can be built. That takes time and honesty. From the resulting trust also change their own thinking patterns in terms of errors.

Nobody is perfect

Your own way of thinking that you have to work "perfectly" is extremely exhausting and also frustrating. Because nobody is "perfect". We are only too happy to dazzle with cool titles and job titles that no one understands anymore. And because nobody wants to embarrass, fewer and fewer people dare to ask what is actually behind them.

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Maybe one should think about establishing a culture that praises brave employees who make a mistake in an ambitious project. On the other hand, employees who are stuck in mediocrity and routine and prefer not to do anything for fear of error should feel the consequences. The motto "Who does not do anything, makes no mistakes" may not continue to be valid.

Only those who dare win

Without crazy ideas, which logically always have a high error rate, important achievements and inventions would never have been possible. Unfortunately, many can be dazzled at the end by the perfect end result and its success.

Very few people can imagine the stony path there. And not how many mistakes have marked him. Even the way to a good culture of mistakes is rocky - to tackle it, but definitely worth it.


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