Christian Ulbrich: Why celebrating failure can help Europe’s digital success

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Christian Ulbrich (image)What an inspiring start to the day! An early morning breakfast meeting illuminated by three very different personalities who have all demonstrated tremendous success in the digital world. Unsurprisingly they were all Americans. I found myself wishing that the whole of Europe could have listened in, it would have been a great wake-up call.

It isn’t new news that digitalisation is changing business models and the way we work and live, but it is always fascinating listening to experts give their insights into the next generation of changes. Perhaps what we should be asking, here in Europe, is why Silicon Valley – and the US overall – leads most of these innovations. One reason could be the approach of “celebrating failure” which sounds odd at first, but comes across as really smart when you think about it. Most large organisations lag behind the latest innovations. The sharpest entrepreneurialism is often found in smaller, more nimble businesses.

It makes me think Europe needs more corporate culture that encourages people to shout out their ideas, before they are over-analysed or lost in the woods of procedures and red tape. We need to be ready to try out ideas, allow them to fail and make the results public. Let them stand as examples of creativity which might not have worked but enable a lot of learning, so that mistakes are not repeated and others are encouraged to make the next leap and bring forward their own ideas.

Thinking about the real estate industry, if we are really frank with ourselves, there is still relatively little that’s digital in our daily work. Very few online-driven business models, a lack of efficient data gathering, but a lot of times when we hear “this will never work in our industry”. A new web page or a couple of fancy apps creates a bit of attention – and then back to complacency. Unfortunately, I don’t think that will do any longer. We have to get faster, bolder and take more risk with new approaches. Let’s start praising those who try and let’s back them to succeed. It will be better for all of us – in the real estate industry and for Europe as a whole.

2 thoughts on “Christian Ulbrich: Why celebrating failure can help Europe’s digital success

  1. Beth Hayden

    The hallmark of a great corporate culture is the ability to learn from and celebrate mistakes. Let’s make new mistakes and not repeat the mistakes of “not invented here.”

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  2. Robert bonwell

    There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that we need and must be a company driven by an innovative culture that is prepared to take risks and make mistakes but based upon solutions through data and agile technology.
    Small incubated ideas, fast to market, not large cumbersome platform solutions are what is required. To facilitate an company cannot just change this overnight and it needs more than seed money – it’s needs a cultural change and we have a number of levers that can make that happen fast – we just need to move to action

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