Issue 85 - 02 | Adapt: The Benefits of Safe MistakesBy Tim Harford
Published Aug. 3, 2011 10:00 a.m.
It’s easy to list corporations which have enjoyed periods of great success, only to stumble and fail to adapt: think of US Steel and Cudahy Packing a hundred years ago, Atari and Pan Am in the 1970s, and General Motors and MySpace more recently. Or think of eBay, McDonald’s, and the Nobel-prize winning Grameen Bank, which have suddenly sprung from nowhere, almost by accident, because somebody happened upon a brilliant idea. So does economic success happen despite business failure? I’d go further than that. Economic success happens because of business failure. It’s the failure of once-dominant companies that makes space for new business ideas.”
About Tim Harford | Tim Harford is a columnist for the Financial Times, and the author of The Undercover Economist and The Logic of Life. His new book, Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure, has just been published by Little, Brown.www.timharford.com