Posts Tagged ‘trial-and-error’

Science and innovation follow diverging paths before rejoining

April 17, 2011 1 comment

Brent Carey, a graduate student at Rice University in Texas, has discovered a material that behaves in an unusual way, at least for a non-living material. Made of carbon nanotubes and a rubbery polymer, the composite material does not show any sign of the damaging fatigue that would normally come with repeated exposure to stress; instead, it grows stiffer and stiffer. Why? Nobody knows yet.

That’s the point where science and innovation start to follow diverging paths. Read more…


Innovating like Apple, yes! But what if it all goes Pear shape?

February 9, 2010 Leave a comment

Most CEOs would say that innovation is critical to their companies’ success, loads of people would want to exercise their creativity and innovate, but whether at the corporate or at the individual level, something holds everyone back: risk. “What if it all goes wrong?” This can be more or less marked depending on the degree of acceptance of  trial-and-error as a learning process, but to some extent it exists in all cultures, countries and companies.

What can we do about it? There are process answers around framing the project and keeping it focused, rapid prototyping different versions of the product or piloting in the market.  But most importantly there is a mindset answer which is both accept it and don’t accept it. Read more…

Innovation is more likely to thrive in trial-and-error cultures

January 19, 2010 1 comment

INSEAD and Logica surveyed two hundred CxO level business leaders across Europe, about their views on innovation and what factors may foster it or hinder it.  One of the critical factors the survey highlights is the attitude towards mistakes:

“UK workers are most likely to learn from their mistakes with 50% of business leaders saying they encourage their organisation to do so. France achieved the lowest rate at 20%.” See

Having lived 10+ years in each country I believe that the difference runs deeper than just the attitude towards mistake; it sits right at the heart of the learning model. Read more…