Following along from my blog of Sept 20/11, How Different Are You?, today’s post deals with the risks to morale that innovation naturally brings with it. In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Better Ideas Through Failure, the concept of rewarding risk and even failure is explored as a valuable component of innovation in today’s extremely demanding marketplace.

Personally, one of the most freeing ideas I adopted a few years ago was in believing that there is no such thing as failure – only feedback. Of course, this only works successfully if you look for, and learn from, the lesson(s) that the ‘failed’ event produced. Did you know that some of our most celebrated achievers are also some of the biggest ‘failures’ the world has seen? Thomas Edison, inventor and holder of 1,093 patents, himself said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Michael Jordan, six-time NBA champion and Hall of Famer stated, “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

In today’s business environment we have to be innovative to stay ahead of the pack. But along with innovation comes trial and error, success and feedback. Keeping ourselves and our employees motivated means not just celebrating the wins but celebrating the errors too. So the next time an employee takes a risk on behalf of the betterment of your business, thank them for their courage and effort. You never know, you might just have the next Post-It Note® on your hands!