“business concept du jour: the strategy of intelligent failure”

“The art of success is to fail productively.” ~ Tim Harford (p.17)

According to Rebecca Macfie and Joanne Black, in a Listener article last year, “the business concept du jour: the strategy of intelligent failure …is the logic that drives enterprises to become better able to try new things and to be more adept at learning from what goes wrong.” (p.17) Here are a couple of notes from their piece:

“In his new book Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure, English economist Tim Harford’s central thesis is that, rather than indulging in the Blame Game, it’s an excellent strategy to try new things in the expectation that some will fail. ‘The art of success,’ he says, ‘is to fail productively.'” (p.17)

“[Chief Executive of The Icehouse, Andrew Hamilton] says it is possible to set milestones, but then it becomes tempting when the milestone is not reached to say the milestone was wrong.” (p.18)

“…for some, the capacity to learn from failure is blunted by denial.” (p.19)

“Harford says thinking differently about failure has changed the way he approaches relatively prosaic decisions in his own life. He and his wife had agonised about whether to move from London to Oxford. They found themselves going around in circles, unable to settle on a decision. What if the children didn’t like their new school? What if the family didn’t make new friends? / Their solution was to change the questions they were asking themselves: ‘Will we be learning new things by moving? And if we don’t like it, will we be able to move back?’ Having answered the first question with a ‘yes’, they addressed the second by deciding to rent a house in Osford rather than buying. ‘So if it turns out not to have been the right decision, it will cost us, but it won’t have been a disaster.'” (p.20)

Ref: Rebecca Macfie and Joanne Black (2011) Nothing Succeeds like failure. New Zealand Listener. September 24th, pp.16-20

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About backyardbooks

This blog is a kind of electronic storage locker for ideas and quotes that inform my research... literary research into fiction for young adults (with a special focus on New Zealand fiction). Kiwis are producing amazing literature for younger readers, but it isn't getting the academic appreciation it deserves. I hope readers of this blog can make use of the material I gather and share by way of promoting our fiction. Cheers!
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