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Innovation Management - Measuring Failure!

Creativity can be defined as problem identification and idea generation whilst innovation can be defined as idea selection, development and commercialisation.
There are distinct processes that enhance problem identification and idea generation and, similarly, distinct processes that enhance idea selection, development and commercialisation. Whilst there is no sure fire route to commercial success, these processes improve the probability that good ideas will be generated and selected and that investment in developing and commercialising those ideas will not be wasted.

However, one of the most important aspects of the above process is dealing with failure. This is important as most innovation attempts result in failure and many, many more ideas require reengineering, remodelling or rethinking before they can tread the path to success.

There are a number of benefits of failure, including:

a) Valuable competencies are learned. Ridley Scott had a commercial failure with Blade Runner but went on to make some of the most successful films of all time.

b) Valuable customer needs are established. Often user needs are inadequately analysed but come into sharp focus when a product is in market and not selling.

c) Technical competencies are established. A firm may learn exactly what technical deficiencies it has when a product fails to materialise in the desired form.

d) Cultural or emotional obstacles may come into sharp focus. The metric system is not used in the USA but dominates throughout the rest of the world.

These topics are covered in depth in the MBA dissertation on Managing Creativity & Innovation, which can be purchased (along with a Creativity and Innovation DIY Audit, Good Idea Generator Software and Power Point Presentation) from
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Kal Bishop, MBA

About the Author: Kal Bishop is a management consultant based in London, UK. He has consulted in the visual media and software industries and for clients such as Toshiba and Transport for London. He has led Improv, creativity and innovation workshops, exhibited artwork in San Francisco, Los Angeles and London and written a number of screenplays. He is a passionate traveller. He can be reached on


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