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A friend keeps his fan mail to read when he’s in one of life’s down cycles. He reminded me when I was discouraged during a recent project we worked on together. · Read more →
From Matthew May: Once of the most frequently asked questions I field from managers is: How do I start to create a culture of company-wide creativity and innovation?
I love the question because I believe that innovation must occur at every level of the company. Now, that doesn’t mean (necessarily) that the receptionist is going to create your next breakthrough product. But it does mean that everyone must look for and find a way to do their work better than it’s ever been done before, and to do that at as often as possible, even every day.
But the answer to the question is very challenging, because I so often hear the sound of “idea silence” in both big and small businesses. It sounds like this:
“I can’t get my ideas heard.”
“I’ve suggested several improvements, but nothing came of it.”
“We have a command and control culture. Forget creativity.”
Sound familiar? So what’s a manager to do?
From Frogdesign: “All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” — Samuel Beckett, “Worstward Ho,” 1983
I won’t pretend to know a lot about Samuel Beckett or his writing, but the notion of “failing better” resonates very strongly with me. Design is all about failure. It’s about taking an initial swag at something and seeing how it works. Does your design solve the problem? Does it create a delightful, intuitive experience? Not quite? Well, then tweak it. Rev it. Iterate it. The more you experiment, the more you iterate, the better.