Embracing risk and failure

Spending cuts and the expectation of 'more for less' are simply not compatible with developing a business which has the built-in disadvantages of providing products and services other won't, locating where others don't, and employing people deemed to be 'unemployable' by maintream businesses.


 All change?


The t-word - transformation - has come into common parlance of late - particularly in relation to the re-organisation of local support services (so-called 'infrastructure'). It implies radical change to accomodate the severity of the economic climate, and this in turn suggests that we've got it all wrong up until now, but clearly we haven't!


Yes, there are bound to be ways we could work better, avoid duplication and waste, but this is probably more about reviewing and re-working rather than wholesale change. Social enterprises are all the time trying to compete on quality and 'added value' (competing on price is unlikely to be sustainable) by being innovative.


Risk and failure go hand-in-hand 


Some years ago, David Robinson (founder of Community Links in London) delared his passion for failure. He said "If we don't fail, it means we're not taking risks. If we're not taking risks, it means we're not trying to do things differently. And if we're not trying to do things differently, why are we here? I think that without risk there can be no progress."


But without a financial cushion to allow us to take risks and accept failure if necessary, there's a real danger that progress and quality will suffer through having to 'play safe'.