The mantra of 'failing fast' is one which will terrify many. But, in essence, it means to learn fast, to iterate quickly, to tweak, to reset, to redo, to learn and repeat the cycle.
Failure is never the goal when anyone sets out to pursue an idea but it can sometimes become inevitable because of economic conditions and competitors. The challenge is knowing when and how to pivot or persevere, to tweak or persist.
And as we will hear from Margaret Heffernan in Reignite 4, the old means of forecasting, planning and executing are now over. She argues that forecasting is only achievable up to about 400 days in the future (and that's by super forecasters). For those with less expertise, we can forecast ahead by only 150 days.
She contends we must now embrace an era of experimentation. "If you don’t try, you won’t grow," according to Ms Heffernan.
Failure isn't always a bad thing. If you don't try you won't grow. pic.twitter.com/C7JtlRtJKS— Margaret Heffernan (@M_Heffernan) February 25, 2015
So in the era of experimentation, people will have to embrace the idea that sometimes 'done is better than perfect’ in order to rapidly test the value, to fail cheaply, to test and learn faster.
In companies like Google and Facebook, thousands of online controlled experiments are run annually in order to ensure they are always learning, evolving, tweaking.
In increasingly uncertain times, we will need to place smart bets and ambitious bets but be honest about the mistakes made and the learnings gained.
"Experiments are what you do when you don’t know what you can do; they’re ideal for complex environments because they yield clues about the systems we inhabit," writes Ms Heffernan in her new book Uncharted, which was published in February, just as the World Health Organisation was moving to name a new coronavirus - Covid-19.