Fail Harder Wieden Kennedy

Speaking of ‘stupid’, one of my organisational soul mates is the design agency Wieden + Kennedy (W+K) for whom ‘Embracing Failure’ is a core part of their corporate ethos (the photo above is from their head offices). Iain Tait recently joined the W+K firm and decided to do a blog about the 10 things that inspired him about W+K. #5 was indeed ‘They’ve made friends with failure’’…

Lots of companies talk about embracing failure. But few actually have a management team that will let it happen beyond a powerpoint chart or two. I’m not planning on being a colossal failure. But it’s good to know that taking wrong turns is tolerated – for the right reasons and if the right lessons are learned I’m sure”.

But the reason that inspired me today was #6 which I think is every bit as much about embracing failure as well: “A love of the unknown.” What caught my attention was Iain’s brilliantly insightful characterisation…

“’Walk in stupid’ is a phrase I’ve seen around W+K from time to time. I reckon it’s a particularly healthy attitude to have when it comes to approaching the digital world. I’ve seen a few agencies starting to behave as if they totally ‘get it’, like they’ve got this whole digital thing licked. Every second they spend congratulating themselves they’ve just become a tiny bit less relevant. There are millions of people whose entire livelihoods are built on making you look more stupid than you did yesterday (not in a nasty way) – so be prepared to always be a bit stupid.”

Not surprising then that W+K can lay claim to so many creative masterpieces not least of which is my wife’s favourite commercial of all time – ‘I’m on a horse.’

Walkl in Stupid Every Day Weiden Kennedy