Innovation grows in 'OK to fail' culture

Friday - 11/19/2010, 2:26pm EST

Marissa Levin, CEO, Information Experts

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By Jolie Lee
Federal News Radio

To foster innovation in an organization, leaders have to do more than just tell their workers to be innovative -- They have to a create an environment of innovation.

"Leadership has to communicate it's OK to fail," said Marissa Levin, CEO of Information Experts, a strategic communications firm that has worked with the Defense Department, the Departments of Justice, Energy, Labor and about a dozen more federal agencies.

She added, "It's a cultural mindset that thinking outside the box, pushing beyond the boundaries and not being afraid to fail won't be penalized."

Levin joined host Francis Rose on In Depth's Industry Chatter series to discuss how organizations can foster innovation.

Some private companies have "innovation days." At Google, employees have one week every month to test out new ideas.

Although this probably isn't the model for federal agencies, Levin said government can learn from this kind of innovative culture.

"The thing about making mistakes is you don't want to make the mistake twice," Levin said. "Everything is a teachable moment and everything is a learning experience."