I was speaking with a business leader recently who blurted out this expression … innovation is a funnel. And it dawned on me that many product management leaders fail to recognize failure as a stepping stone. There is a reason for that, of course, as many product management professionals tend to lean towards ‘High D’ on the DISC profile … meaning we are ambitious, competitive, driven. Once we agree to own a product, it becomes our baby and we will do just about anything to see it succeed. The challenge is that all products don’t succeed.
No one likes to fail because it generally means pain, loss, and in some cases even humiliation. And as the image from Tom Fishburne alludes to, come out of it feeling a bit “chewed up”. Whether the product failed because the market didn’t need/wasn’t ready for the idea, or because of internal company politics, or a number of other reasons, it’s time to try something new.