Ready, steady, go – or fail?
"An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail." –Edwin Land
I have always liked that sentence by Edwin Land, the former inventor and co-founder of the Polaroid Corporation. There are three key concepts in Land’s sentence: creativity, fear and failing. What do these words mean to myself and to Tieto? But more importantly, what do they mean to you?
We see different kinds of creativity everywhere around us, at work as well as at home. The essence of creativity then depends on the place and the mindset.
At Tieto, in the CEM (Customer Experience Management) unit, we have been setting up an environment that allows people to be creative and open for new ideas. We do this by running hackathons like the CX Hack, where we are able to get good ideas into our own offering development roadmap. We have also established the Tieto Experience Hub, where a hackathon is one method that enables us to quickly come up with new ideas and innovations. The Tieto Experience Hub is a concept where we push organizations from different industries to learn from each other and find opportunities for new innovations and business concepts. We help people to be more creative, both inside and outside of Tieto.
But what about fear? That’s a bit trickier. We all tend to fear something: high places, spiders, or failing, for example. We all know what fear feels like. It´s that familiar feeling right before the moment we need to do something that we’re afraid of.
I have experiences of facing my fears and I am grateful for that. On my 30th birthday, I got a skydiving as a present and jumped from an airplane – a longtime horror for someone who doesn´t exactly like high places. This is not a Hollywood story in which I suddenly stopped being afraid of heights. Instead, I learned to control my fear.
Failing is the mortal enemy of Finns. We are a nation that does not want to fail. Many times we are so afraid of failing that we refuse to try, just to make sure that we do not fail. Failing is truly seen as a negative thing. At the CEM unit, however, we have taken a slightly different approach to failing: we encourage people to think big, try new things – and fail, if they must. At Tieto, we aim to break down the barriers that would otherwise stop people from working together and having the courage to bring creativity to the table from day one.
Let´s go back to Edwin Land. I feel that I have managed to combine the essence of his advice in my work, and it has truly paid off. Facing my fears and having supporting and inspiring co-workers by my side, I have learned and accepted the fact that sometimes it is ok to fail.