In an article by Forbes on finnish game studio Supercell, their CEO claims to follow an oblique route to success by focussing not on profitability first but on fun. Similar ideas have been espoused by for example Umair Haque, author of The New Capitalist Manifesto: "Profit is an effect, not a cause; a reward, not the accomplishment." So, profits are not a purpose that inspires roaring success. Key number two from the article is distributed decision making:
Most game studios have an autocratic executive producer green-lighting the work of designers and programmers. Supercell’s developers work in autonomous groups of five to seven people. Each cell comes up with its own game ideas. They run their ideas by Paananen (he can’t remember ever nixing a proposal), then develop those into a game. If the team likes it, the rest of the employees get to play. If they like it, the game gets tested in Canada‘s iTunes App store. If it’s a hit there it will be deemed ready for global release. This staged approach has killed off four games so far, with each dead project a cause for celebration. Employees crack open champagne to toast their failure. “We really want to celebrate maybe not the failure itself but the learning that comes out of the failure,” says Paananen.
Focus only profits will probably steer you away from anything that might equal failure, but at the same time steer you away from the learning that can happen through failure. Failure often teaches us much more, gives much more information, about the nature of things. To be innovative, to be successful and, dare I say it, happier people, we must learn to embrace failure as the learning experience it is.