This article is the second part of a series of fives articles on mistakes to avoid when managing a disruptive project, extracted from my new book “A Manager’s Guide to Disruptive Innovation”.
Because the innovation process is so complex and uncertain, entrepreneurs continually ponder over the ideal approach to an innovation project. Today, some recommend an approach called “fail fast, fail early”. In essence, the idea is that since entrepreneurs cannot really know where they are going, then they should just try something quickly to see if it works, and if it does not work, give up and try something else. This idea is appealing: it calls for open-mindedness and flatters the entrepreneur by highlighting his or her ability to make difficult decisions. However, for a start-up entrepreneur as well as for an existing business, this attitude is dangerous because it is built on an implicit but erroneous premise concerning the innovation process.