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What is Fail Often?

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Fail often is an innovation technique that calls for quick iterations of experiments designed to test ideas. Ideas that succeed are tested further or shipped, experiments that fail are examined for new knowledge. Fail often calls for experiments that are designed to fail cheaply, quickly and safely.
According to the fail often approach, a lack of failure is a red flag that you're not pushing hard enough to change.

Fail Often As Hype

It can be said that fail often is widely misunderstood by both its promoters and its critics.
Fail often is commonly promoted by individuals who may intuitively feel that learning from failure has value but who have no working knowledge of applying fail often techniques for innovation. As such, fail often can be considered a buzzword that is often misused.
It is also common for fail often to be construed by its critics as a celebration of failure.
Overview: Fail Often
An innovation principle that calls for testing ambitious ideas that may fail. Ideas are initially tested with experiments designed to fail cheaply, quickly and safely. Investment is escalated in phases as ideas pass increasingly stringent tests.
Potentially reduces the fear of failure that prevents many organizations from innovating.
Openly managing failure may be preferable to an organizational culture that hides failure at all costs.
Allows organizations to pursue a large number of strategies with the idea that only a few will succeed.
Avoids the tendency for firms to engage in expensive and high risk attempts to force a strategy to work.
In many cases, fail often involves shipping beta releases to customers such as services that are likely to be canceled. This may risk alienating customers or generating bad publicity.
Fail often may be a difficult culture change for many organizations. It is best suited to organizations with an existing culture of experimentation or a strong commitment to change in that direction.
Fail forward
Fail fast
Fail better
Related Concepts
Next: Fail Well


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