The Acceptance of Failure as a Spur to Innovation

Recently, I was part of the Traveling Geeks tour of U.K. tech, including the Reboot Britain conference. (The Geeks are a collection of talented journalists, and myself.)

I was struck by the repeated comment that failure is stigmatized in U.K. business culture. In Silicon Valley, failure is just a normal phase of one's career. You might succeed in your first endeavor, probably not, so you're ready to persist in subsequent efforts.

That is, there's some expectation of failure and the expectation that you'll get over it.

This is not unique to Silicon Valley, but it's far more expected here than anywhere I’ve heard of. The attitude is the norm here, but in a lot of places failure continues to be stigmatized, and it's hard to recover.

It seems that widespread innovation and success requires the acceptance of failure, and then a readiness to move on.

That's generally true in Silicon Valley; maybe it needs to be true in the U.K. and maybe everywhere else.