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Fail cheap, fail often

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in Leaders & Managers

John Wang believes the path to breakthrough ideas ought to be littered with failures.

Wang, chief marketing officer at HTC, the Taiwanese company that manufactured the first Google phone, and his 60-person team, “Magic Labs,” generate hundreds of ideas daily and kill most of them. Only breakthrough ideas survive.

Here’s how to replicate their magic:

Be prolific. Magic Labs holds daily brainstorming sessions. “Within an hour, probably 200 ideas will be generated, but most of them are just put away,” Wang says.

Fail quickly. Only a handful of ideas turn into prototypes. Even if you make a prototype, then discard the idea, you’ve still failed very cheaply.

Be humble enough to scrap an idea you once liked. “The moment you touch the prototype and see how it works,” he says, “you might realize that, hey, it does not feel like the way we envisioned.”

— Adapted from “How Innovation Led HTC to the Dream,” Kermit Pattison, Fast Company.

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