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Uniqlo Founder: 'If We Fail, At Least We Can Say We Were Bold'

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Who says innovation is only for tech companies? Not Tadashi Yanai!

The CEO and founder of clothing company Uniqlo says innovation is absolutely key to the world’s fourth-largest clothing retailer. “We are not a fashion company," he insists in a recent Fast Company profile by Jeff Chu. "We are a technology company." Yana’s attitude is similar to many successful tech startups that have chosen to go big or go home when it comes to new ideas.

"The most serious flaw would be if someone doesn't have the courage to try new things,” Yanai says of his employees. “At least if we fail, we will fail miserably. At least we can say we were bold."

Indeed, a recent survey found that companies tend to be twice as innovative when headed by CEOs that take part in the creative process themselves, like late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, according to Bloomberg.

Yanai spent years developing new ways to expand his business in Japan and is now looking to tackle the states and other countries in Asia with products like HeatTech, a synthetic fabric specially developed by Uniqlo in collaboration with textile company Foray. The company's also made headlines recently for its unique scrolling animation on Pinterest.

But the success of companies that value innovation is far from limited to Uniqlo. When it comes to bold, look no further than one of Uniqlo’s major competitors, the Gap. The company was able to rebound from slumping sales this Spring by bringing in a new designer who emphasized fresh, brightly colored jeans, The Huffington Post reports.

What happens when you innovate too little, too late? Look at former film giant Kodak, a company that is now all but extinct after failing to adapt to the digital age. Likewise, Research in Motion may not make it past 2013 due to an inability to find new ways attract customers, according to 24/7 Wall St.

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