Failure is Part of Innovation!

dysonYesterday I wrote an article about how we need to create a safe environment for our teams, one where they feel comfortable taking risks knowing that they will not be punished if they make mistakes, because mistakes are not the same as failure and they are essential to our learning process.

This was reinforced for me today when I was watching an interview with the Sir James Dyson about his plan to invest a further £1.5bn into research and development to create future products, including funding for a campus at the Dyson UK headquarters in Malmesbury.

Dyson was named as one of the Worlds Top 10 Most Innovative Companies by FAST Company in March 2014.

As part of the interview one of the Design Engineers was asked about working for Dyson and what it was like to work in an innovative company and it was this that discussion which I really liked.

The engineer said that it was great to work in the Dyson labs because they were allowed to try anything, and they weren’t afraid to make mistakes, because to make breakthroughs in innovation you need to try lots of new things and it’s obvious that not all of them will be successful.

So failures were an accepted part of the process.

Now whilst many might think thats ok, because these guys are designers, inventors, and thats a normal part of their work, but it’s not the same in other areas of business or in other functions.

But aren’t we always asking our people to innovate, to try to find new ways to do things, isn’t faster, better, cheaper a standard demand in all businesses.

I know that in my own roles for that past 10 years this was always the goal, we were always being asked to innovate, to find new ways to do things.

So shouldn’t we then make failure a standard part of that process.  If we want people to be inventive, creative and innovative then we should given them the same leeway as the designers and inventors at Dysons’.

If we do that then maybe we will see the same kind of results that Dyson has achieved.

If you want to know about how to create inspired teams contact me at

Gordon Tredgold

#Leadership Principles