Error is the Engine of Evolution. Failure is the Engine of Innovation.

That’s a bold headline there. I’m not sure I can really back up a claim like that, but shit,  if it’s not true, then I’m one step closer to the truth (see what I did there?).

The first concept about error driving evolution is explored in Johnson’s chapter on Error and it’s great reading.

Side note here – this book does a great job of talking about “ideas” through the lens of actual natural phenomenon (i.e. evolution), but also through the lens of Darwin discovering the theory of evolution. It’s a clever parallel. Bravo, Mr. Johnson.

Anyway, you don’t need me to write much to underscore the notion that error is critical to evolution. Mutations are fundamental to the whole idea of ‘survival of the fittest.’ If there were no mutations, there would be no variation, and there would be no fittest.

Is it that much of a leap to say the exact same thing is at play in the market for innovation, or the market for new ideas?

Variation and differentiation are critical.

One way to create variation, or to have a new idea, is to plan it. Another way is to iterate so fast and so often that you can’t help but be driven toward it by failure. And whether it’s planned failure or accidental failure does not matter — the insight and new information gathered is valid nonetheless.

So…to wrap this thing up and put a bow on it…don’t be afraid of failure! Don’t be afraid of mistakes. They might just lead you to a new perspective and a good idea.