Back to blog

Lower the cost of failure

A while back I gave a talk on why UX was so difficult to do in the enterprise. I spoke about the empty box problem being a critical factor in determining a company’s ability to do great UX. Simply put, ask a company, how long would it take you to ship an empty box?

This acts as a proxy for understanding the minimum level of resources and process it takes to do something. The larger the company, typically, the longer it will take them.

Lately, I’ve been using Joi Ito’s quote as an adjunct to my empty box test. He states:

“Want to increase innovation? Lower the cost of failure.”

This is the simplest and clearest articulation, I’ve read, on what large companies need to do to innovate.

When most companies realize that it takes them X weeks to ship an empty box, their reaction is “we must become more efficient”. What they need to do is lower the cost of failure.

Jon Lax More posts by Jon Lax