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Creative Start-up, Part 12: Failure is an Option

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In-House Business Startup Journal Part 12
No, the title is not a mistake. Sometimes, you have to let things fail.
I have started and lead 3 creative businesses in my career; 2 in-house, and 1 agency.  I have also be part of a few business re-organizations in both design practice and academia.
Our in-house business is like any other in that we need to keep trying new things in order to make progress. Sometimes it’s a new creative iteration of the brand, sometimes it’s a process. Sometimes, if you’re fortunate, things work the way you planned. But sometimes they don’t. That’s a fact of life.
They key is don’t let failure stop you from trying anything. You have to keep trying new things until you have success, and then you move on to find ways to further improve or grow. So whether it’s how you manage your team – or your clients – or even how you [try to] instill organization change within you own company. Great leaders keep on trying. Never fearful of failure, always looking for ways to improve or do things in a new way.
Someone once said that you learn as much from failure, as you do from success. In fact Thomas Edison famously said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
This is the final installment of the in-house business startup journal. After all, I don’t think we can quite call a year-old business a startup anymore. But there’s plenty more to consider when running an in-house business, managing creative people, and navigating the politics of corporate America, and I’ll be doing that in another on-going series to be started next month.
I will be at the InHOWse Managers Conference this June 22-24 in San Francisco. Won’t you join me and other in-house leaders to share stories and learn from each other?  Details here and register here.
I’ll also be leading the InSource roundtable on the in-house / outside agency relationship in conjunction with the HOW Design Live! events on June 23. To register, you have to be a registered attendee of the conference.

Written by Andy Brenits

Andy Brenits is Principal of Brenits Creative, and President of the Board of Directors of InSource. An experienced mentor and teacher, Andy has taught undergraduate and graduate classes at Pratt Institute, Rowan University, The Art Institute of Phoenix,, and most recently at Columbia University. When he isn’t proactively managing his to-do list, he’s busy cooking and taking photographs of his cactus flowers and family.

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