Whatever you name it, failure means you didn’t accomplish what you set out to do. And it means that you wasted time, money, motivation, credibility, and many other resources. But these are only the obvious downsides. Failing says something about you, that you did fail not only one time, but two times, simultaneously.
First of all, you failed on the thing you actually wanted to do – it didn’t work out. Second – you failed business basics. You failed to set your lead measures correctly to determine all the exact components that increase your likelihood to succeed dramatically. “But innovation is a creative process” I hear people murmuring in the back of the audience. Yes, there is something to trial and error – you have to test theories to know if they will work or not and to make improvements. But you don’t go into it completely blind, you take time to research and apply learned principles to create the theory. But you do have to test it and part of that is trial and error.
The problem is the mindset that failure is ok – which means a person sets out to test something with the thought that if it doesn’t work, that’s fine. This creates a laziness. And that is the problem.
When Edison tested the lightbulb, I doubt he went into each test with the mindset of “if it fails, it’s no big deal”. He was driven to build a lightbulb that worked, so every attempt was probably a true, hours of research invested, attempt to succeed. Failure allows us to approach innovation with a laziness that says it’s ok if we don’t succeed. That mindset does create a pure chance work environment.