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3 Best Practices To Innovate While Failing Forward In 2023

We live in a society afraid of trying, where transparent, healthy, efficient communication doesn’t usually succeed.

Fuckup Team
January 23, 2023
Best Practices To Innovate While Failing Forward In 2023

Psychological Danger, lacking a culture that accepts failure.

“Find your edge,” said no one to me ever. Had I learned to challenge the fears I held deep down inside me from an earlier age, I might have learned to harness what I was truly capable of becoming. I now place extra focus on removing mental blocks to my freedom. Those being: stigmas, perceptions, myths, prejudices, and yes, failure.” - Julio Salazar, Co-Founder, Fuckup Inc

This collective behavior, known as Psychological Danger, translates into lacking a culture that accepts failure. We live in a society afraid of trying, where transparent, healthy, efficient communication doesn’t usually succeed.  As a consequence,  healthy work environments are threatened, limiting employee well-being, creativity, and  innovation.

After 10 years of listening to a myriad of failure stories, we’re here to let you know that: failure is essential for innovation, creativity, and productivity to flourish. Here are our best practices to ignite that innovative spark while failing forward:

  1. Foster psychological safety at work 

This concept means that the organizational culture feels comfortable and safe for interpersonal risk-taking. In other words, “being able to show and employ oneself without fear of negative consequences of self-image, status or career.”

Teams that work in these circumstances understand the importance of destigmatizing failure, sharing it, and its positive impact on productivity

Research shows that spaces of psychological safety allow high-performance teams to unleash their potential, making companies more agile, strategic, and innovative. This leads to more fulfilled and productive teams and, as a result, happier individuals.

What most people are afraid of is what others will think of them. We are constantly afraid of doing things, not for the fear of not accomplishing them, but out of the fear of our reputation. If we change the way we perceive failure and the narrative around it, we could become a much more creative and healthy society. - Julio Salazar, Co-Founder, Fuckup Inc

  1. Taking accountability for your own decisions allows continuous learning

It’s really hard to learn from our experiences if we cannot admit we did something wrong or that we could have done it better. This reflection allows us to grow professionally and lead by example.

Changing our perceptions of failure at an individual level means we can allow ourselves to be vulnerable, which in turn means we can be more transparent about our experiences, which can be used to learn and teach others. Eventually, this will increase our sense of freedom and belonging, reducing the barriers to trying new things.

“When a business fails there are people who will lose their jobs or lose their money. And in the case of social or green businesses, there are communities or ecosystems that will suffer from the death of the project. What does it mean to fail mindfully? It means being aware of the impact of closing that business, being aware of the lessons learned, and being aware of the responsibility to share those learnings with the world”

 - Leti Gasca, Co-Founder, Fuckup Inc

3. Defeating your ego is a crucial step toward building solutions

A root cause of a lot of issues in organizations, especially in government, comes from their need to hide mistakes. For this reason, and many more, we need to eliminate the stigma around failure. We’re too used to talking up our results and brushing over our mistakes throughout the process. Being conscious of our imperfections and challenges allows us to set the ground for more realistic and strategic decision-making. Defeating our egos is part of our core values at Fuckup Nights and something we try to remember as much as we can. 

Sometimes failure is a limitation to us, to society, to humanity; and as finding your edge is about boundaries, failure is a priceless tool. - Julio Salazar, Co-Founder, Fuckup Inc

In conclusion

Imagine how different things would be if people were able to come clean and learn from their mistakes. Decisions would be free from prejudice, pride, and shame, eventually preventing errors altogether. This is just one part of our Failure Management workshops.

Ready to make failure work in your favor to catapult innovation, resilience, productivity, and employee retention? Just fill out this form, and bring one of our workshops to your company.

Originally written by Julio Salazar and Ricardo Guerrero

Edited by Raquel Rojas


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3 Best Practices To Innovate While Failing Forward In 2023


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