‘Embrace Failure’ – James Dyson

Sir James Dyson discusses prototyping, failure and patents

In a recent interview on Radio 2’s breakfast show, British inventor Sir James Dyson talks about why he sees failure as something exciting which should be embraced. He also answers questions on whether he’s ever invented something in a dream, how many patents they hold and whether he uses his own hairdryers…

It a great, short interview – well worth a listen on the Radio Two website. 

Business Plans Lead you to Failure more than anything else…

In this new StratChat episode, Alex Osterwalder, co-founder of Strategyzer discusses how business plans are the wrong tool for the job when exploring a new business idea. He offers tips and advice with regards to moving away from business planning to a process of more agile and cheap experimentation.

To listen to that StratChat click here


Megan Macedo – Crisis is the Cure

The Business of Self Disclosure


Megan Macedo is a marketing strategist, writer and founder of Becoming Yourself in Business.

It’s no secret that an entrepreneurial path is paved with uncertainty and risk and failure is unavoidable. Whilst most commentators would encourage you to capitalise on your successes and ignore your failures along the way, Megan believes that it is the “whole series of smaller wins and losses that are the real stories of success.” She says;

“I’m interested in their success, but I want the complete version. I don’t just want to know what they did to make their current venture a success, I want to know the whole story of how they got to where they are.

I recently heard Brené Brown say that the question to ask is not “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” but “What is worth doing even if you fail?” The people asking themselves that question are the ones I want to talk to.

I think if we’re living right we should be going through some kind of crisis on a regular basis…. Crisis is how we come to know ourselves, discover our strengths and hear the whispers that tell us what we’re made for. The problem most of us have is we try to keep everything on an even keel all the time, even when we know something’s not right with the status quo.

If you resist the crisis you miss out on the progress it brings. Every story worth telling is the story of someone coming out of the other side of crisis.”

Read more from Megan here.

It’s time to stop glamorising start-ups

The life of an entrepreneur is often seen as a whirl of glamour – all caffeine-fuelled late nights, glitzy product launches and awards dinners. The reality can be rather different..


It reckons Britain’s 4.9 million small business owners are spending more than 15 hours each week on admin tasks. That’s almost two full working days. Not so glamorous after all, especially when you think that this form-filling costs each small business £1,442 per week in lost productivity. To read more click here


New EU VAT rules threaten to kill UK micro firms


The EU’s new VAT MOSS rule, which is due to come into force on January 1, will create a #VATMESS and strangle innovation, say the UK’s small business owners.

Small businesses trading online are up in arms about a new EU regulation, which states that from 1 January 2015, VAT on digital products will be chargeable in the place of purchase rather than place of supply in the EU. To read more click here.

If you would like to campaign against this click here

Why don’t we talk about Failure?

FF LogoAre you scared of trying something new today? What is it and how might you embrace failure to find your true passions?

On Monday 17th November ‘Fail Forward’  is the grand opening event for Global Entrepreneurship Week 2014 at Lancaster University.

Lancaster student Oli Monks is coordinating a showcase of people who have learned from failure and embrace it as an inevitable ingredient of success; in fact the comforting reality is that failure is on route to finding your passions and success in life.

In this post and media clip “Why I Want my Kids to Fail” Alexander Osterwalder PhD, writer and entrepreneur talks about  how failures in his own life turned out to be positive for his development and career.

‘Why don’t we talk about failure?

Everyone has lived it but no one wants to speak about it. We’re ashamed by our past failures and have trained our memory to only retain moments of success. We look up to thought leaders and are inspired by their flawless track record. But should we be? Should we really be inspired by those who deep inside are scared of admitting they’ve sucked at something before becoming masters at it? Should we look up to those who fear to venture into something new because they might fail and look incompetent?

The topic of failure is less of a taboo today though. We’ve embraced the startup mantra of “failing cheap and failing quickly” and have seen communities sharing stories about failures to tap into collective learning at events such as the Failcon conferences. But we are not trained to embrace failure. We’re just barely working on letting go of that fear of looking inept in everyone else’s eyes, and we still don’t know how to teach our kids to fail.

Alex’s failures

Alex mentions he failed to get in McKinsey & Company, a leading consulting firm. He also failed his first year of business school and instead learned about questioning how people think in his political sciences program. Alex learned he didn’t want to be an accountant when he ventured in a nonprofit job in Thailand. These failures shaped what he is today: a passionate thought leader building tools and introducing revolutionary methodologies in the traditional corporate world.

In spite of the success of Business Model Generation, his visual and practical bestseller that stood out in the traditional book market and made more than a million sales, Alex and his co-authors are now taking the risk of failing as they’re trying something completely unseen in the business world: making people use digital tools. With Strategyzer’s upcoming book, Value Proposition Design, Alex and his co-authors want business executives to use strategy & innovation processes through computer-aided design, just like architects and engineers. Value Proposition Design will be the first book to offer online learning, PDFs, exercises, and templates on Strategyzer.com.

Failure helps you find your passion

Are you scared that you might just blow things up if you try, and be judged by others around you? Well, you might actually fail and indeed not look very smart. You might try once, twice, and still fail. But as you learn to accept failure and learn about your own case, you’ll adapt and find something that works, something that you’re passionate about. Striving to find that passion, learning from any kind of experience and taming our fear of failure is how we should teach our kids to fail today.’

Register for the Fail Forward Event at Lancaster University here.

A fifth of adults are ‘hidden entrepreneurs’, reveals survey. Support is needed to ‘normalise’ entrepreneurship as a career path, says UnLtd

UnLtd_2012_Logov2One in five UK adults uses their spare time to grow a new business or earn some extra income – making them Britain’s ‘hidden entrepreneurs’.

The surprise findings are revealed today by the latest RBS Enterprise Tracker, carried out in association with UnLtd, the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs.

According to the survey, two-fifths of adults have a hobby or pastime that could or does provide them with a second income, and of those nearly half treat their hobby as a way of earning extra income or hope it will develop into a full-time business. These ‘hidden entrepreneurs’ – 20% of adults – are spread evenly across all regions of the country.

The survey also reveals a large ‘ambition gap’ between people who say they want to start a formal business or enterprise (38%) and 6% who actually do. Some are put off by perceived practical barriers – such as the state of the economy (41%) and where to find the cash (41%), while others lack confidence: 55% of respondents had ‘fear of failure’ on their minds while half (49%) assume they lack the skills for the job. Only 12% of people are put off because they couldn’t see a market opportunity.

Cliff Prior, chief executive of UnLtd, said: “Hidden entrepreneurs are natural entrepreneurs. These figures tell us that people want to create businesses out of their hobbies, passions and interests – which is where many social entrepreneurs start – but don’t feel they have the support or confidence to do so. As a nation we need to get far better at nurturing our entrepreneurial talent and normalising entrepreneurship as a career path from an early age. At UnLtd we know that trying social entrepreneurship can give vital life skills for the future.”

Thom Kenrick, Head of Sustainability Programmes at RBS, said: “We’ve believed for some time that lots of people are undertaking enterprising activities without associating themselves with being an ‘entrepreneur’. This research shows there is an untapped potential right across Britain of people who could be successful in business. Through Inspiring Enterprise, RBS is working with organisations right across the UK to help more people, in more communities, release their enterprise potential.”

The quarterly RBS Enterprise Tracker, conducted last November by Populus on behalf of RBS Group, measures people’s attitudes towards starting up their own business or social enterprise. The poll interviewed 3,789 people.

The survey also shows that people’s appetite for social enterprise remains strong, with 20% of those who would like to start their own business saying they would choose to set up a social enterprise. These people are more likely to think that business training would be most helpful in setting up their own business than the population generally (27% compared to 20%).

Read the full report of the survey findings and the summary report here