Want to constructively disrupt? I've got you sorted.

Future-state Thinking Newsletter gives you the practical systems to accelerate your growth & make bold leaps.

    We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.

    Brains, Bravery and Belief – An Antidote to Failure


    Welcome back everyone.

    Previously we spent time discussing the first two phases of the DUCTRI model – discovering and understanding. These two phases are the cornerstone of validating desirability.

    This week, we’re going to talk about Brains, Bravery and Belief – a framework for navigating VUCA situations. VUCA – volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous.

    *Attribution to Dr. Christian Walsh for the framework.

    The concept of failing fast is often promoted as a way to navigate VUCA situations. 

    VUCA is something that entrepreneurs and innovation programmes face everyday.

    While I agree that failing fast can be valuable for rapid learning. But, sometimes learning may not happen or failing fast may actually be harmful – if not done in the right way.

    What’s more important is developing skills in creativity, intuition, experimentation and intelligent failure – skills not often encouraged in stable BAU environments.

    And, what’s more, failure is often not encouraged (or at least embodied) in MBA programmes. MBA students are used to and strive for success – rather than failure. Even if MBA programmes espose failure, there is more of a stigma than generative view of failure.

    In my view, creative skills need to be recognised and elevated alongside traditional skills as equally valuable and effective in management.

    When talking about failure – there are three types –

    1) preventable failure such as you might find in a manufacturing plant. To avoid failure in this context effective processes and quality control are put in place.

    2)  Complex systems failure such as health care, while undesirable, is expected from time to time. To avert failure, there is a raft of testing and checking used.

    3) In new, ambiguous environments such as found in a startup or innovation programme – intelligent failure should be expected and encouraged.

    Which is where whole person learning comes in – emotional learning to deal with failure and setbacks

    Previously, I’ve spoken about Grit (having passion and perseverance being more important than outright talent) – when you combine this with the concepts of failing forward likely to result learning from negative experiences, build self-confidence and persistence.

    As well, as reflection – engaging in double-loop learning takes into the territory of values, assumptions, beliefs and values. A good reflection approach is: What went well/not so well? What did you learn? Learn about yourself? What does this mean going forward?

    In summary, when  navigating VUCA environments, building skills, emotional resilience and confidence to fail forward is critical. Try thinking in terms of the framework:

    Brains – learning from failure – experimentation based.

    Bravery – whole person learning, self-compassion and emotional resilience.

    Belief – reflection, double-loop learning, and rethinking .

    Don’t forget to head over to the website and grab the list of 101+ innovation resources as a free download from my website – link in the description.

    If you liked this episode – please share it with one person that needs to hear the message and leave a 5 star review.

    Until next time, thank you for listening in.

    Here’s to your success!


    101+ Innovation Resources FREE download available here

    If you liked this episode, check out these:

    Podcast: Design Thinking 101

    Podcast: Innovation by Design – The Discovering Phase

    Blog: Design Thinking for Innovation – Ultimate Guide and Download

    More about the show: Pivot & Grit


    Let’s connect!