Would You Work for a Company That Rewards Failure?

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Curiosity is the new currency.

3D pie graph on a pink table

Ed’s note: This post was written by guest editor Dominic Price of Atlassian.

You can choose to live in denial, but it’s hard to fight the forces that show we’re in a phase of disrupt or be disrupted. These days, curiosity is the currency and innovation is the commodity.

The challenge, however, isn’t in the acceptance of this new world, but understanding what your next move should be. The patterns of success for business from yesterday might not work anymore.

The Industrial Revolution (and a stack of airport newsagent business books) have left us with a legacy of elimination of variability, chasing efficiency at scale, and searching for predictability. Our business environment now is volatile, uncertain, complex and full of ambiguity. The tech refresh cycle is getting faster, we have a new generation entering the workforce, our customers have access to more information than ever before, and our competitors sneak up from everywhere.

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So is it all doomed? Is the end nigh? ‘Course not! We’ve been through bigger changes before. This change is different though, as we need to unlearn seniority, proof, efficiency and hierarchy. This world values curiosity, experiments, learning by doing, prototyping and iterations. It rewards failures as chances to learn. It rewards play as being the vehicle for what is impossible becoming possible. It’s a world where business cases are dead, and decisions are made using knowledge and experience (gut instinct) and data, together. Data-informed, not data-driven.

Our business environment now is volatile, uncertain, complex and full of ambiguity.

We’ve been experimenting with playfulness and finding ways to break the constructs of default thinking and explore curiosity. A way of taking cognitive diversity and seeing it as an investment, not a tax.

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Disrupt is a play that our cross functional and multi discipline teams take part in. A play that is as good for introverts as for extroverts, and for the tech savvy or the Luddite.

This change is different though, as we need to unlearn seniority, proof, efficiency and hierarchy. This world values curiosity, experiments, learning by doing, prototyping and iterations. It rewards failures as chances to learn.

Don’t try and change your entire organisation. You’ll call it “transformation” and give a consulting firm a blank cheque. Pick a team, give them the Disrupt Play, and get out of their way. Watch, listen and learn. Curiosity is your new currency and innovation is your prize.

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