Saturday, April 27, 2013

Attitudes to failure

Delegations to Cambridge from near- and far-flung corners of the world who are seeking to develop their innovation ecosystems often have a clear idea of what they want to investigate during their visits. They typically want to know what institutions have supported the growth of the cluster, how they have done this, and who the 'key influencers' are.  What attract less attention are the softer issues of culture and attitudes.  Key among these is the attitude to failure, neatly summed up by Andy Richards who said Cambridge is "a low risk place to do high risk things".  Recently completed research at the University of Cambridge Institute for Manufacturing sheds some more light on this issue.  Keith Cotterill, himself a serial entrepreneur and investor, recently completed his PhD comparing attitudes to failure in three successful innovation clusters:  Silicon Valley, Munich and Cambridge.   A summary of his research can be accessed here.