THE BLOG

The Acceptance of Failure as a Spur to Innovation

08/14/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Recently, I was part of the Traveling Geeks tour of UK tech, including the
Reboot Britain conference. (The Geeks are a collection of talented
journalists, and myself.)

I was struck by the repeated comment that failure is stigmatized in UK
business culture. In Silicon Valley, failure is just a normal phase of
one's career. You might succeed in your first endeavor, probably not, so
you're ready to persist in subsequent efforts.

That is, there's some expectation of failure and the expectation that
you'll get over it.

This is not unique to Silicon Valley, but it's far more expected here than
anywhere I've heard. The attitude is the norm here, but in a lot of
places failure continues to be stigmatized, and it's hard to recover.

It seems that widespread innovation and success requires the acceptance of
failure, and then a readiness to move on.

That's generally true in Silicon Valley, maybe needs to be true in the UK
and maybe everywhere else.