Frédéric Stark, CTO, KDS
"Fail fast is not about developing the coolest new gadget, instead it is an approach where a company will develop a product while conducting many small experiments, with the knowledge that some will work, and some will fail."
Quote from Frédéric Stark, CTO at KDS, in an article on PhocusWire this week on the key to tech innovation in business travel.
Each Friday, PhocusWire dissects and debates an industry trend or new development covered on our site that week.
The "fail fast" slogan has been used in business circles for years, with Wikipedia claiming its emergence into common use first came around 2001.
The term, it says, argues "businesses should undertake bold experiments to determine the long-term viability of a product or strategy, rather than proceeding cautiously and investing years in a doomed approach."
It has since been adopted "as a kind of mantra" within startup culture.
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In travel, like many other industries, a strategy to try new things in the hope that something sticks has since shifted from young businesses to the wider circle of companies operating within a sector.
The idea being that with a fresh approach to a company's culture and its development of services, this can lead to opportunities that didn't exist before.
That's the theory - one that is pushed forward as the ONLY way to figure out modern business practices and succeed.
The reality is somewhat different, especially for brands operating in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry.
The inevitable word of caution comes emanates from the inherent complexity and financial mechanics of running a travel business.
Such are the day-to-day requirements of managing people (oh, and customers), technical connections, strategic partnerships and lots more that it might seem impossible to even consider adopting a strategy that takes a more laissez faire approach to development of new ideas.
For many companies there is simply too much at stake to become adopt a risk-taking mentality.
Others operate on such tight margins that the idea of squeezing that gap even further, with the promise that something might work work out, is just too difficult to manage financially.
Still, there shouldn't be too much of a half-empty analysis here. Things do work.
Companies should try to push their development envelopes (to twist another terrible piece of business jargon), just don't expect instant results and be prepared for failures to have a wider impact on the company.
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