Myths about Knowledge and Innovation

Myth #8

Failure should be criticized.

“There is no innovation without trust; academics can promote a culture of collegiality, inquiry, initiative, and understanding.”

There is no innovation without trust. No-one is going to share their new idea with a person who might criticize or steal it. Moreover, if people are not trusted, their “failures” might be discarded, rather than valued as possible successes.

Academic consultants can promote trust in an organization. Academics come from the domain of higher education, which is about gaining an understanding of and sensitivity to the world through scholarly debate and building upon the ideas of others. Criticism needs to be constructive and well-founded, aimed at helping colleagues to develop their ideas to the greatest degree and to explore the greatest number of possibilities. Initiative needs to be rewarded, whatever the result; the brave try new things; the cowardly hide behind existing viewpoints. What seems like a disappointment from one perspective might be a benefit from another, now or in the future; we all know of “failures” that have turned out to be useful inventions: the post-it, penicillin, the pacemaker, plastics, etc.

To nurture innovation in an organization, the first reaction to a new idea needs to be understanding, not scorn. An Academic from Briiij can help you to consolidate a culture of trust in your team, and there sow the seeds for innovation.

About the author

Bill has a PhD in Education in Autonomy/Empowerment and is on the casual teaching staff at Macquarie University in Sydney. He has been a partner in businesses focused on developing innovation in organizations since 2003.