We tried that before and it didn’t work

Something that didn’t work several years ago might be exactly what is needed now.

‘We tried that before and it didn’t work’ isn’t a reason not to give it another go.

Our working lives have changed faster than ever in the last 18 months. For many of us, we’ve proven things possible that would have been considered not feasible before. For example, it’s possible to work from home, we don’t have to always travel for face-to-face meetings and people will attend virtual events. Our behaviours have changed, we’re more familiar with buying products and services and engaging with others online. The speed of change would have been slower if we hadn’t been forced to change by a pandemic.

The speed of change has forced us to consider new opportunities. We’ve been forced to solve problems, to think creatively and to innovate. In fact it’s been imperative, the organsiations that chose to stick to ‘how we do things here’ haven’t fared so well in the last couple of years.

The pandemic has forced a different mode of thinking. It’s a new version of a burning platform. We didn’t have a choice but to change.

When I run innovation workshops I often ask about barriers to innovation and the phrase ‘we tried it before and it didn’t work’ usually comes up. Does that happen in your organsiation?

It’s often the fearful failure hangover that stops us evaluating and learning from what didn’t work. Just because something didn’t work before doesn’t mean it isn’t ever going to work. Most of the time there’s no real evaluation into why it didn’t work, it gets shoved under the carpet as quickly as possible in case anyone finds out that it FAILED.

I believe that too many ideas that fail are shoved under the carpet too quickly and we waste the learning. As we know, things change. The virtual event that flopped in 2019 might very well succeed in 2021.

I believe that it’s important to learn from our recent experiences of creative thinking, changing and adapting quickly and not revert back to ‘how we do things here’ and our old ways of thinking.

‘We tried that before and it didn’t work’ is not a reason not to give it another go.

When someone blocks the idea by saying ‘we tried it before and it didn’t work’ ask why didn’t it work? Which bit/s didn’t work? What small changes might you make to enable it to work this time? What has changed since it didn’t work? Something that didn’t work several years ago might be exactly what is needed now.

The world is changing, attitudes are changing and we are changing.  Don’t write off something because it didn’t work before. Take a step back and dig a bit deeper into why it didn’t work.

We need creative thinking and problem-solving skills more than ever to adapt and change to a fast-changing world. Don’t let the ‘we tried it before and it didn’t work’ failure hangover stop you from making progress.

If you’d like some help to build your teams confidence and skills for creative thinking, problem solving and getting over a failure hangover get in touch today at lucy@lucidity.org.uk

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