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How Losing Can Help You Win

How Losing Can Help You Win

2014.01.07 – We came across this article today, and thought it was worth passing along.

Failure isn’t necessarily any worse than success. What matters, win or lose, is what you learn from the effort and how you apply the lessons moving forward. Our Auburn friends can take solace in that this morning, perhaps.

In Fail Fast, Fail Often: How Losing Can Help You Win, authors Ryan Babineaux, PhD., and John Krumboltz, PhD., write about how those who experiment a lot, and court failure in the process, tend not only to produce more work, but better work, compared to those who focus on getting things right the first time. This is of a piece with other recent works by authors from Nicholas Nassim Taleb (Antifragile) to Jim Collins (Great By Choice), which speak to the wisdom of taking lots of small risks and, win or lose, learning from them and trying again; and again…

Some businesses were historically good at this (think Microsoft), but it might seem tough for airports to apply, given the constraints of governmental or quasi-governmental environments. Nonetheless, experimentation is essential to innovation; innovation is a key ingredient to competition; and in the post-2007 environment, competition for customers, as our regular readers know, is what will tend to separate successful airports from the pack. So given the constraints airports tend to face, the question isn’t “can we experiment,” but rather “how can we experiment.”

Successful airports will tend to figure out the how.

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