Failing is encouraged – What business could this be happening at?

February 18, 2016

The healthily paranoid assumption at Google is that if they aren’t meeting that (user’s) need, there are two girls in a garage who will meet it tomorrow. Their motto is: “If we continue to do the right thing by our users, they will reward us for it over time”. I believe we should all be following that mantra. No matter the business and no matter the industry. If we keep doing the same thing today that we have been doing in the past we are falling behind.

They go on and say the following: “There is also the expectation that every single quarter when you assess what you delivered versus your plan, the assumption is that you will have failed. And if you deliver more than about two-thirds of your plan, you obviously did not have an ambitious enough plan”. This is a different environment from where failure is not an option. At google the environment is one where failure is expected. What a great way to motivate the team and allow them to express themselves. And so the way I see Google managing innovation is this combination of obsessive focus on the user and having culture where failure is expected. The only real negative that can happen when you fail is if you haven’t learnt from it. 

We have to make sure that we have got the skills in our businesses and in Australia to rewire us to win going forward.

A key point is: Unless the leaders put innovation at the heart of what we do, I’m worried we’re going to be left behind.


Innovation not only requires curiosity but, fundamentally, innovation requires people who are rule breakers and risk takers. And if we look at what Australia has somehow allowed itself to become at the most senior levels, whether it be our boards, senior management or government, we have become a nation that is excelling in no rules being broken and risk aversion.

The latest report on where Australia ranks on innovation shows we have slipped yet another spot. Some of the markers around Asia are really moving forward. We should be concerned and we should take action, now.

We’ve got about 70 years of disruption or change ahead of us, so you cannot white-knuckle your way through it. The blunt message of Malie Carnegie, a 23 year veteran of the Procter & Gamble “leadership factory” who is now running Google’s Australia and New Zealand arm is the following:

He says, “access to the internet unlocks ideas, provides education and generates wealth in a community. 

Look at the role that small businesses play in Australia. They are a huge part of our economy – they employ almost half of the population and more than that, they’re also the social fabric of society.

There is only about 16 per cent of them that are fully utilising the internet, yet all the data shows that small businesses that are really leveraging the internet are twice as likely to be growing. They are four times as likely to be hiring people”.

Wow, if that doesn’t make us sit up and take notice I am not sure what will.

We must spend time thinking about how and where our businesses need to go in the future. Please talk to us about our planning days and how we can help you get to where you want to go.  

Another way of starting the process of Innovation is our proprietary business camp concept. We currently have 20 of our valued clients signed up and looking forward to joining us on the Gold Coast.

We only have a few seats left for Indigo Financial clients and friends available and they are still at $2,200pp (VIP rate). The current rate is $2,970pp so take advantage of this very special offer and join us at the QT on the Gold Coast. The best part is that each table of valued clients has an accountant with them for the 3 days working with them.

The things we will be working through and sessions we have planned:

  1. We will work though the 6 Secrets™ to any business over the 3 days. They include 1. Beginning with the end in mind, 2. Planning for success, 3. Growing your business, 4. Managing your business, 5. Valuing your business and 6. Freedom.
  2. HR and employment risk session included – David Bates (Workforce Guardian).
  3. Leadership session – Andrew Geddes (Geddes Consulting).
  4. Understanding the outcome of every business decision made and the impact of the 1% changes with proprietary software, cash flow story – Mark Holton (Smithink).
  5. Technology session highlighting the age of prediction and look at the importance and outcomes of websites, social media, cloud technology, applications, google adwords, search engine optimisation, multimedia, big data and 3D printing (this is the next revolution) and more – David Smith (Smithink).
  6. Steven Bradbury will also be there during the dinner on the Tuesday night to share his story, which will be great.  

See you there.

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