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Why we should learn to love failure

It's a common story up and down the country. Marketing want to add a new feature to the website, only to be told by IT that it will take six months.

Nobody can agree on a sensible middle ground, and with that the idea is either scrapped, or it's delivered so late the value is diminished. Either way, nobody wins, everyone is frustrated and most likely the customer loses out.

These issues come up again and again and more often than not the long lead-time is due to the fact that people don't want to be seen to fail and so provide a timescale that they know they can definitely achieve.

The "fear of failure" is something we all have. But in the digital age, without failing, by the time everything has been delivered; it will no longer be needed. There is a need to fundamentally change the way we work.

One of the key ways to embrace failure is to take on the concepts of "lean" and "agile". So easy to talk about, but in my experience very rarely delivered well.

Here are my top 5 Dos and Don'ts for anyone that wants to deliver more change, learn more about what their consumers want, save money and if done correctly, lead the market.

By taking on these concepts, the ownership of the risk of failure is shared. Everyone is working towards a common goal and if the great idea doesn't work, the investment in time and money should have been minimised.

Agile and lean are the terms we use for these new concepts, but they really aren't new at all. What they do deliver is, teh following:

I can't think of any business that wouldn't benefit from better collaboration, minimising costs and fostering an environment where innovation thrives. Something to consider as we start 2016.

Jevern Partridge has worked in retail for over 15 years, most recently as interim CIO at Nisa Retail. With experience of building, leading and developing teams to deliver sustainable change, Partridge has worked in digital leadership roles at Marks & Spencer, Asos and Paperchase.

He is also a long-serving member of the RBTE steering committee, and you can read more about his contribution by clicking on this link.

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