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Get innovative to grow and allow for failure


I don’t like to fail, but I know it’s all part of the process. In order to succeed, you must first learn to fail. This mantra has enabled my company to experience rapid growth. 

Makinex wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for a culture of innovation. We invest up to 10% of our turnover in research and development and this is the core reason we’ve been able to expand beyond Australia to bases in LA, Europe, UK and distribute our products worldwide. It takes us between 5 and 20 prototypes to get to a final product and our research and development failure rate is approximately 10%.

With technology disrupting multiple industries, now is the time to step out of your comfort zone and do things in new ways with new tools and to take yourself out of the mindset of ‘this is how we’ve always done things’.

Here is how I’ve driven innovation from the top:

Allow for failure and let your staff try and fail

It can be difficult for business owners to let go of control, however the outcomes for your employees and staff could ultimately be a game changer. Also, allow time. If everyone is flat chat and working in the business there is no space to work on ideas, creativity and talking to clients about the problems they need solving. Having time to really think, reflect and pursue new innovations, ideas or thoughts could help you create the next product, system or innovation that will help take your business to the next level.

Create an ideas network

Building a workplace where there is a constant exchange of ideas involves finding the right formula for your company and culture. You can’t force creativity, but the right setting will put your team in the right frame of mind to find imaginative solutions. Always look for new ideas and listen to other people’s ideas to build onto concepts and designs so that you can grow. The more people involved, the greater the thinking. Reward creativity and doing things differently and always lead from the top. The culture of your organisation comes from the business leader, if you’re not putting time aside to innovate no one else will.

Gauge feedback for constant improvement.

Feedback is valuable information that should be used to make future decisions. If you can build closer partnerships with stakeholders including customers, clients, employees, suppliers and vendors, and gain their constructive feedback on your products, it will allow you to further improve. It highlights your weaknesses as well as strengths  –  think of it as a way to make your best even better.

Embrace the diversity of your team

Put together a team with different backgrounds, passions, and capabilities. The different personalities will both complement and contrast each other and allow others to see things that you might not. There’s a good place for perfectionism and discipline in business particularly paired with creativity and inventiveness, that’s when you will see entrepreneurial results.

Have a strong vision in place

Our Big Hairy Audacious Goal is to have 20 products in 20 countries within 10 years. This is the big picture vision that gets us out of bed in the morning. It helps us look at what we can do now to get to that point. With already 11 products in seven countries only three years in, we are already exceeding our expectations. We’ve sen growth of over 20% consistently for the past 5 years. We’re setting our sights on reaching over 30% growth over the next four, hitting $25 million in turnover.

In a world which is being impacted by disruption and innovation every day, no single company is so safe if they stay the same. Never has the saying “evolve or die” held truer in business.

About the author

Rory Kennard is the Founder and CEO of Makinex, a company focused on designing and developing construction products and distributing them worldwide.