In New York Cityâs glittering social scene, Iâve never heard of a failure party.Apparently, you have to be on the A-list in Indianapolis to be invited to one.
In 2004, The Wall Street Journal published an article on Eli Lillyâs failure parties.These parties were started in the early 1990s by W. Leigh Thompson, who used them âto commemorate excellent scientific work, done efficiently, that nevertheless resulted in failure.âAccording to the WSJ,
Lilly has long had a culture that looks at failureas an inevitable part of discovery and encourages scientists to takerisks. If a new drug doesnât work out for its intended use, Lilly scientistsare taught to look for new uses for a drug.
As part of this effort, Lilly developed âa formalized and thoughtful process in which it reviewed failures more honestly, more deeply and started the process sooner than anyone else.âÂ This is a very sensible response to what is reported to be the 90% failure rate for most experimental drugs.
By taking a creative second look at what was originally considered a failure, companies have salvaged their investments and been able to bring profitable innovations to market:
Have you gone back to see where a well-conceived project went off the rails?Â Can it be re-imagined for another useful purpose?Â Innovation isnât just about that initial brilliant idea.Â Sometimes, itâs about a brilliant comeback plan.
[Photo Credit:Â frippy]