Failure is something most social entrepreneurs and enterprises do not like discussing. While in traditional business there are lots of entrepreneurs and businessmen that admit they have had to battle failure in the early days of their career, in the social enterprise circles talking about such things seems sensitive.
It’s hard to give a reason for the fact that failure has not yet been accepted by social entrepreneurs. Martin Murphy of Failure Consulting thinks it’s mostly because failure doesn’t just indicate that a business was unsuccessful, but it also indicates that the idea behind the business and the idea that things could be improved were wrong. The stakes for social entrepreneurs might be higher.
Slowly but certainly, more and more social organizations are, however, embracing failure and their vision seems to correspond more to the vision of traditional businessmen. Failure is something that can be learnt from and failure is something that leads to innovation. Failure doesn’t always prove an idea was wrong, but it can also mean that part of the process of implementing the idea needs to be improved. Failure can be important and it can be a great platform for innovation.
According to Murphy, when entrepreneurs and organizations are proactive and ready to deal with failure, failure can enable them to learn and innovate quickly. Everybody needs to realize that when something fails, steps need to be taken to make that something successful. In short, speedy processes for recognizing failure, reporting it, managing it and learning from it, can lead to innovation and success.