Thursday, May 23, 2013

Digital Shoreditch: Panel on The Institute of Failure

This past week in London was busy and memorable, not least because of Digital Shoreditch.

Digital Shoreditch is worth attending, even if only to see everyone you have been trying to see all year and calendars have prevented it.  I was asked to sit on a panel by Dr. Mitra Mesmeria (scroll down to find her) to kick off her Institute of Failed Ideas.  More on that as it emerges.

The panel itself collected a few of us who have had seen failure only to find success later with persistent learning and dogged determination.  Mitra started the panel by talking about the way in which Digital Shoreditch came from a failed idea to begin with --this she told to a packed room, so clearly failure isn't forever.

My top tips:
1. Know yourself -- intellectual convictions are just abstract rationales for emotional reactions.  Know why you think what you do so you can be responsible for your convictions and decisions.

Associated with this is recognise and rieve losses, recognise when you need perspective and get it (even if it's faking it until you make it).  This will prevent bringing unresolved negative feelings into the next project or strategy and make it more likely you'll be successful.

2. Everything comes from 1 above.  Leading from that, impose work-life balance.  If you can't do it with love, do it with discipline.  Picking yourself up from your work and doing something you love will change your brain chemistry and make it easier to do it next time, or the time after.

The longer we live, the narrower our lives tend to get.  As company-owners, we shoot for results and try to make the road to get there as automated as possible.  This includes creative thinking.

You get much more than a break by ensuring you've got activities you love in your life separate from work.  All the feelings and associations -- and most important, connections -- that come with them will make you more creative and innovative when you get back to the grind.

3. Know when to let go.  And do it.  No matter how much time you've put into a company or initiative, know when you need to walk away.  Again, if you can't do it with love, do it with discipline.  Grieve the loss, and move on.

4. Don't globalise failure -- nothing is the end of the world.  Did I mention that if you don't do it with love, do it with discipline?   Do an audit of the things that succeed and fail, and remind yourself that this isn't forever.  In a couple of weeks, you'll know it without reminding.

The Mini-Accelerator Coming to America next.

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