Highly innovative companies have recognized this for the most part. Market analyses, customer surveys, concept tests and other instruments have not been abolished, but companies have drastically reduced their dependence on these tools. Because this often leads to a decision vacuum: because market research opposes it, no one dares to make a clear decision. The consequence: The next analysis is requested or a decision is postponed.
In practice, it is often the case that innovative products that come to market change customer needs or generate those that did not previously exist. Or that customers in reality use products quite differently than it appeared in theory. Instead of creating a culture of risk avoidance, these companies have built up a culture of error and experimentation which, within defined framework conditions, allows what is difficult in many companies: trying things out and accepting the risk of deliberately failing.
The culture of risk and experimentation is not an aim in itself. Quite the opposite. One hundred percent goal orientation, discipline and solid detailed planning go hand in hand with risk-taking. Creating a culture of experimentation and innovation does not mean ignoring the conventional methods of risk analysis. It doesn’t mean throwing money out the window either. But to allow failure within clearly defined limits and with regard to clearly defined goals. Is this also possible in a company that is viewed critically by the stock market and bank analysts? Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has an answer: “If the employees who run Amazon.com don’t make any significant mistakes, we wouldn’t be doing a good job for our shareholders. Because we wouldn’t test how far we could go.”