Igniting Innovation: Tips, Sparks and Ideas for Acting on Innovation

Failing Oh So Fast

Posted by David Lafkas on Oct 27, 2015 10:00:00 AM

So, I didn’t know.  I needed help.  And I failed.  And it is good.

My organization has an opportunity to show its systems technology at a major trade show in Las Vegas.  This is the sort of show that puts any other failing at innovationshow to shame in terms of the quality and quantity of technology unveiled and companies in attendance.

I assumed it would be easy to get volunteers from the organization to want to participate.  The technology spectacle at the show will be fascinating, we can talk up our latest technology, and heck, it gets us out of the cold and dreary Midwest for a week in January.

Boy, was I wrong.  No one on the team had much interest.

I learned quickly why. 

I was asking for volunteers to join a project that I was not yet sold on myself.  I didn’t have, nor show, passion enough to even want to go myself. 

I did not give enough direction to the potential volunteers to know what the goal would be.  Is the goal to develop a new client base by participating in the show?  Is it to be able to unveil new technology of our own?  Or, is it to increase our own learning on how others interact with our technology?

Once I was reminded that the goal was not clear, the discussion changed for the positive.  We discussed what the desired outcome would be for the organization.  This sparked new ideas, and the team became more animated and interested.  And yes, we ended up getting more than enough passionate volunteers - including me. 

As a leader, are you making the goal clear to your team?  Are you even able to show passion for a project that you are asking for others to join?  If not, can you really expect anyone to want to follow? 

Topics: innovation, leadership, fail fast fail cheap

David Lafkas

Written by David Lafkas

David is Eureka! Ranch’s legal eagle, or more traditionally our patent and trademark authority, not only serving as in-house counsel at Eureka! Ranch, but also evangelizing on the importance of patents in today’s world of innovation to stay ahead of your competition. As an Innovation Engineering Black Belt, David has helped numerous companies develop patentable new products and services. Most recently, he’s supported High Liner Foods in Canada and the US on their comprehensive journey to achieve a culture of innovation as they not only create breakthrough seafood ideas, but also broadly educate employees and implement systems driven innovation across the corporation. David received a biomedical engineering degree from the Rose Hulman Institute of Technology and his juris doctorate from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, the 4th oldest law school in the country. He lives in Cincinnati with his rescue dog, Chauncey.

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