Don’t Fail Fast, Learn Fast

Don’t Fail Fast, Learn Fast

Fail fast has become a major catch phrase for innovation teams lately, but when put into practice, the end result is often the product of simply cutting corners. When asked which innovation phases marketers cut to get to market faster, 77% of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) professionals who responded to our State of Innovation survey* last year said they spend less time on at least three phases of the overall innovation process. Most commonly: testing and refining, optimizing line up, and improving marketing execution.

“Speed does not mean careless. Speed can still be thoughtful,” said Chris Fosdick, Partner, The Cambridge Group.

Jenny Frazier, SVP, Nielsen Innovation, agrees, “There’s a myth around first to market is always better. You certainly get more awareness. But I promise you that the smartphone brands that are selling the most today, were not the first to market.”

The Cambridge Group believes that companies with larger portfolios need to focus on building a culture of innovation by building a portfolio of innovations, accepting the fact that some may fail, and learning from those failures.

“You can’t just count on those big huge wins. You need to have a balance of innovation types,” said Jenny.

These innovations also need to appeal to retailers as much as they do to consumers. A study from Advanced Web Ranking showed that 84% of people only go to the first page of search results when online shopping. With online sales growing 4x times faster than FMCG offline sales around the world, being on the first page has become even more crucial.

Previously, Chris and Jenny shared some common pitfalls companies face when it comes to creating an agile culture. In the video below, they discuss how risk and fear comes into play when it comes to agility and recommend a multi-pronged approach to building a culture of innovation success.


The insights highlighted in this article were derived from the Nielsen State of Innovation Survey, June 2017; “When speed to market is critical, which (if any) of the following phases does your team/company tend to spend less time on than perhaps it should?” (n=294 North American FMCG professionals).