Innovation Requires Failure
Recently I read a Harvard Business Review article written by Dorie Clark which contained this, which spoke to me:
“Recognize that innovation requires failure. In a world where competitive advantage is increasingly short-lived, as Columbia Business School professor Rita Gunther McGrath has described, successful companies have to bake innovation into their standard processes. But innovation of any sort entails risk and trying new things — and that mandates failure. A 100% success rate implies you’re not doing anything new at all. The goal, says Eric Ries of The Lean Startup fame, is to create a minimum viable product that you’ll fully expect to iterate over time. In some ways, it’s a reframing: it’s not so much that you’re creating something (such as a product or service) that failed; it’s that you’re steadily improving a series of drafts.”
Anyone who believes the over 15,000 pole buildings I have now been involved with were all perfect successes, has been drinking some pretty potent Kool-Aid.
Over the years I cannot begin to count the number of times I have had a client begin a discussion with, “I’ve made the worst mistake ever on my building, can you help me?” I explain to them, “In my past life, I was a pole building contractor who ran as many as 35 construction crews in six states. Chances are, if a mistake could possibly be made, my people found a way to do it.” Often very creatively!
With this said – let’s move forward and solve the challenge.
The true measure of a great completed pole building is not everything having gone absolutely perfectly (which is almost never going to happen), but rather how the things which didn’t go quite perfectly got solved.
Without question I have never been a huge innovator of brand new concepts in pole building design and construction. I have been fortunate to have been able to identify things which appeared to perhaps be a road to the “better mousetrap” and been able to adapt and improve upon them. I’ve also met and interacted with many industry professionals who were far more brilliant than I, and have garnered a wealth of knowledge from them.
Today’s Hansen Pole Building design is a world of improvements and advances from the very first pole buildings I designed and sold when I worked for Lucas Plywood and Lumber in 1980! I look forward to each and every day as an opportunity to continue to improve that mousetrap. The day I stop “innovating” is the day I need to head out the door….and keep on goin’….