The F Word: mistakes, they've made a few

As part of Callaghan Innovation's F Word project, Idealog  conducted research on the New Zealand business community's attitude to failure and got some business big noters to discuss the best mistakes they'd made. Callaghan conducted its own interviews with the help of Scifilms and has released a series of videos that offer some personal examples of how important it is to try, try and try again.  

New Zealand businesses spend about half the OECD average on R&D, on a percentage of GDP basis. And Callaghan believes the stigma attached to failure in this country is one of the key drivers behind our relative lack of business innovation and investment in higher-risk businesses and R&D projects. If we can get over that stigma, those numbers might move in the right direction. And, as these local and international stories show, making mistakes is an unavoidable part of progress and an important part of the process. 

Jason Hunter - Parrot Analytics director

Jason Hunter describes how Parrot Analytics used a fail fast approach to pivot into new industries.

Anna Guenther – PledgeMe CEO

Anna Guenther says after you fail you should do an honest appraisal of why things went wrong, and use this to tighten up your business objectives.

Tony Falkenstein - Just Water director

Tony Falkenstein shares a great story about watches. He says your mindset around failure is the most important thing – and it also helps to have a good understanding of what you are prepared to lose if it all goes wrong.

Scott Houston - Green Button founder

Scott Houston says you should take the emotion out of failure and treat it as a learning exercise: Measure, evaluate and try again.

Vivek Wadwha – Silicon Valley Entrepreneur 

Vivek Wadwha describes how you can't expect to know it all immediately: You learn a lot as you go along, and because of this your chances of success will increase.

Keith Teare – TechCrunch co-founder 

Keith Teare describes how you can measure success by looking at a person's resilience: their ability to keep trying despite failure.

David Hornik - Venture Capitalist 

David Hornik on how the post-failure pain never lasts.

Ben MacLaren, CEO of C-Prize winners Vortech UAV Ltd

Ben MacLaren talks about how responding well to failure – and turning it into a learning experience – has been an important part of his company's journey to success.

And for even more tips on failure, check out this TED Radio Hour podcast featuring Astro Teller, Tim Harford, Casey Gerald and Lidia Yuknavitch​.