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FAIL FAST, FAIL CHEAP! The keys to the new idea economy


Idea Economy.jpgDon’t get me wrong. I am not writing this article to encourage or show people how to fail. I am sure that every person or organization wants to succeed. As we all know, unless you are super lucky, you will likely experience a few failures before success is achieved. “Fail fast, fail cheap” is the motto for rapid innovation. It is about quickly turning ideas into reality. It’s about speeding up the process of experimentation, learning and eventually get to winning business outcomes quickly.


It sounds simple, right? Yes, but it’s hard to do. Look at the taxi industry where there hasn’t been any significant innovation the past several decades (unless you consider installing a credit card reader or TV in the cab as innovation). The business model of the taxi industry has not changed since its inception. Then in 2009, Uber came along and quickly became a prominent model for connecting riders and drivers. In a matter of a few short years it has completely disrupted the entire taxi industry. Circuit City, Blockbuster, Kodak are additional examples of businesses that fell victims to disruptive business models due to their inability to react and adjust.


Why is it so hard for some organizations to innovate? You can blame the management, the economy or the circumstances. But, in this idea economy, time is the currency and speed is the difference between winning and losing. I recently watched the movie In Time in which normal citizens will ‘time-out’ or die if they don’t act fast enough to get more time before time runs out. Running a business is like having a time limit. The longer it takes for you to move forward, the higher the risk of being left behind or going out of business altogether.


What can I do to speed the ‘winning hand’?


Many successful innovations don’t always begin as a winning idea. Most of them went through iterations of changes based on learnings from previous experiments. As you developed and sold the initial version of the product or service, you learned about people’s impressions of your product. You refined the product or service based on what you learned and iterated until people really love your final product or service.


Most of us don’t have infinite time and money to refine and iterate forever. So, how do I get to the winning product or service quickly and cheaply?


This is where technology advancement such as cloud computing can speed up your innovation process without breaking your bank account. With cloud services, you can get access to on-demand IT resources quickly, and pay for only the resources that you actually use. You can start your innovative process in a small scale, prototype and get it out to the market quickly. If your initial idea failed, try again and iterate in small chunks. Scale up only when you gain meaningful progress in improving your innovation and get wider adoption as a result.


Cloud enables business model innovation


Cloud is often misconstrued as an extension of virtualization or simply as market hype generated by technology vendors. I would assert that cloud is as much about business model innovation as it is about IT innovation. As Meg Whitman describes in her LinkedIn blog post, in the idea economy, no industry is immune to disruption. This is true in energy, healthcare, manufacturing or telecommunications. Start-ups or large enterprises can only survive if they have both the vision and technological agility to respond to market opportunities and threats. The key is to quickly turn ideas into reality.


To win, you will likely fail first. The key is to fail quickly and cheaply – as opposed to failing slowly and expensively. Leverage emerging technologies such as cloud computing to give you the agile and flexible IT resources to drive that business breakthrough – before your competitors eat your lunch.


To learn how Cloud can help, visit the HP Helion page to find out how HP can help.  Watch this video to learn more about the Idea Economy,

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