iMoney CEO On Why Failing Fast Is Actually A Good Thing

iMoney CEO On Why Failing Fast Is Actually A Good Thing

Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) recently invited key players in the tech industry to a panel to discuss the topic of “Adopting Fail-Fast Philosophy To Achieve New Innovation”.

The event featured influential figures such as Patrick Hew, Chief Technology Officer of Paywatch, Ravinder Singh, Co-Founder & Chief Commercial Officer of AQM Technologies, and iMoney’s very own Chief Executive Officer, See Wai Hun. En Reza bin Baharin, PNB’s Head of Fixed Income was also present as the moderator of the discussion.

During the event, the panel covered a number of topics relating to fail fast culture. These include, encouraging experimentation, learning through quick iterations, being accepting of failure, as well as having the will and foresight to learn from any failure.

Here are some of the interesting key takeaways that came out of the discussion:

Image Source: PNB

It only takes one person to initiate change

iMoney CEO, See Wai Hun shared this insight during the panel discussion.  She explained how companies often have a prevalent culture that permeates throughout the entire organisation. 

This means that if one part of a company is risk-averse, you will likely find that the rest of the company is similarly cautious. She pointed out that people within the company are shaped by their environment. In order to encourage a more diverse culture and mindset amongst the organisation, change must happen.

Fortunately, change is not impossible. According to Wai Hun, all it takes is a single person to initiate the change. 

“Culture is created by the environment; to change that culture you only require one person. Even for a high talent team, it is based on the motivation of 1 or 2 persons,” Wai Hun said.

If a company has a culture of being risk-averse, you can cultivate and encourage one person to drive change and experimentation within their team. This will eventually permeate naturally throughout the organisation over time.

Failure can hinder innovation if failure is viewed as unacceptable

While there is nothing inherently wrong with playing it safe, don’t expect continuous rapid growth if you do not innovate. The fear of failure is definitely a contributing factor that hinders innovation. 

It is very tempting for organisations to stick to a formula that works, but this strategy can eventually lead to stagnation, thus trapping the company in a never-ending loop. 

Wai Hun shared her viewpoint on this by drawing on her long experience in being a business owner.

“If you don’t innovate or incentivise people to innovate, you will never get returns. There has to be something that is intentional to start the process,” she observed.

The panel agreed with her view that a culture of innovation and taking risks goes hand-in-hand with growth. Taking risks can lead to failure, but this can be accounted for as long as boundaries are set for acceptable failure. 

Wai Hun stressed that it is important to establish a benchmark by which you can measure how risk and innovation affects an organisation. 

“You need to have processes; the ability to innovate is when you have a benchmark on the standard of work,” she added.

With a process benchmark, you can identify what work needs to be done, what is value-added, where wastage can be found, etc. From there, you can make changes or innovations to see how risks and innovations deviate from your standard process, for better or for worse. 

When you fail, do not focus on the failure

Innovation and change are both aspects that will help both individuals and the organisation grow. However, not all innovation leads to success. Failures are bound to happen, and in all likelihood, are more likely to happen more often compared to successes. 

One of the key takeaways from the panel discussion is to not focus on the failure; instead, put more effort into identifying why things failed, learning from it, and trying something else with these lessons in mind. As such, it is of paramount importance to ensure that failure is perceived as a completely negative thing. 

In her concluding remarks, Wai Hun shared her personal insights on being able to get back up after going through a failure. She highlighted that what motivated her is “not to focus on the failure. 

“There are other people who depend on you. Just realising that even if you fail in one, you already have so many other successes in life,” she pointed out.

Yes, failure is definitely a bad outcome, but through experimentation, observation, and feedback, that failure can be used to carry future innovations to even greater heights. This is the core of the fail-fast philosophy as you will also be learning fast and improving. 

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