Success, Failure and the Courage to Continue

by Yann Cramer

Success, Failure and the Courage to ContinueA friend’s recent quoting of Winston Churchill stroke me as a good summary of the innovator’s mindset.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

“Success is not final” makes the case for innovation: no enterprise, however successful it may have been, can continue to compete and grow without refreshing its offering and sometimes re-inventing its business and indeed itself.

“Failure is not fatal” illustrates the need for the innovative enterprise to inject a healthy dose of trial-and-error in its processes and culture. In organizations where mistakes and failures are not tolerated, risk-aversion, not innovation, will become the prevalent culture. Of course, permanent failure is not an option, but anybody can guess that Churchill would not have advocated it.

“It is the courage to continue that counts” stands as a reminder that innovation is the produce of hard work, not the effortless outcome of a stroke of genius. Many an innovation never happens because a brilliant idea was not pushed with sufficient courage, determination and perseverance through the discipline of execution. Killing a new idea is the easiest business in the world; taking it all the way to market takes a lot of courage indeed.


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Yann Cramer is an innovation learner, practitioner, sharer, teacher. He’s lived in France, Belgium and the UK, he’s travelled six continents to create development opportunities with customers or suppliers, and run workshops on R&D and Marketing. He writes on www.innovToday.com and on twitter @innovToday.

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