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Salvaging failed innovation projects

A simple process for capturing leftovers from the failed projects.

Bruno Pešec
Bruno Pešec
1 min read
Salvaging failed innovation projects

Here is the uncomfortable truth: most innovation projects go out with a whimper.

It's almost like the amount of fanfare they've been launched with is inversely proportional to the amount of noise they generate upon their failure.

Despite the level of chaos they produce in their last throes, each and every failed and/or stopped innovation project should be scavenged for insight and valuable learning.

You should have the proclivity to do so in order to:

  • avoid whatever went wrong,
  • repeat whatever went right, and
  • squeeze out whatever value is left in that project.

I'm not talking about 70-page post-mortem reports that only collect dust in some drawer (or digital rot in some SharePoint folder).

If you want this to be usable in the organisation, then make it short and to the point, a single page covering:

  • what was this innovation project about,
  • who was working on it,
  • what were key assumptions,
  • what were key developments during the project,
  • when, how, by whom, and why was it decided to stop the project, and
  • what key insights can and should be reused by the organisation.

All of that can fit on a single A4 page. Use full sentences and make it accessible.

Persist with this practice, and over time you will create a unique knowledge database, that will serve as your source of competitive advantage.

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Bruno Pešec

I help business leaders innovate profitably at scale.


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