Innovation and Failure

Deep down, we all want to be innovators. We want to create. We want to think outside the box.

After all, we are all artists and creators.

That's why we celebrate people and companies who innovate, who don't simply adhere to the status quo, and who even challenge it. We celebrate the troublemakers who make it. We call them the innovators. Think: Steve Jobs and Apple, Einstein and his theories, Michael Jordan and his style of basketball, Walt Disney and his imagineering.

But, what about those who don't make it? Or what if these innovators didn't make it?

For us, they remain as troublemakers and we call them failures.

What we fail to realize is that failure is at the heart of innovation. You don't get to innovate without risking failure. If Steve Jobs didn't figure out how to make things work, he wouldn't be called an innovator. So would Thomas Edison. If Michael Jordan didn't win a championship, he would probably just be called a selfish player. Now, he's called the greatest of all time.

We don't innovate, let alone create, because we're afraid of risking failure. But, without risking failure, we also don't risk success.

We're celebrating innovation. But, we're celebrating only half of the equation. Celebrate the other half as well. Celebrate failure.

The innovators started out as troublemakers. Even if they failed, they would likely be glad to have started a ruckus. To have challenged the status quo. To have tried their hand on innovation.

You don't become an innovator, a creator, without first becoming a troublemaker. You don't become a success (whatever success means to you) without first becoming a failure.

Risk failure. Only then will you risk success.