Failed! Best Practice Sharing was yesterday

interview, man, explain, failed
Innovation means: taking the risk of failing.
Levin Böhlig, Senior Product Manager Roche Pharma AG Grenzach

What is behind the "failed“ and the title of this contribution?

Sharing best practices has already been standard for a long time in our marketing community. But this by itself is not sufficient: In the highly competitive market we must take new paths to be able to be competitive.

Trying out new things is not possible without accepting the risk of failing. With our event "failed – the somewhat different best-practice sharing“ we would like to encourage the colleagues to try out innovative approaches. And to even do this when the success cannot be 100% guaranteed. Failing is allowed – it is only important to share this and to jointly learn from it.

Together with Nadja Thomas you are one of the initiators of the event series – how did this happen?

Some time ago Nadja and I went to a lecture on Fuckup-Nights and were both immediately enthusiastic. The simple idea behind it: entrepreneurs speak about their failures. This reduces the fear of trying out something oneself and it is possible to learn from the mistakes. The format was so exciting and at the same time entertaining that we thought: We also need such a "failed event“ for us in marketing!

From the idea up to the implementation – how difficult was it to implement your concept?

In fact it wasn't even that complicated! With us in marketing there is a great openness towards new ideas and approaches. After consultation with the person responsible for our marketing we had the OK to prepare a concept and implement a pilot with 2 dates. We had a completely free hand in the design of the concept. We could design the pilot project in the way that we thought was right. The trust in our abilities appears to have been worthwhile - the event is meanwhile firmly established in the Marketing Excellence Curriculum.

We have spoken a lot about the theory. How did the events proceed in practice?

The "failed" events usually take place in the late afternoon or towards the evening and have a duration of roughly 2 to 3 hours. All employees from marketing and the medical department here at the Grenzach location are invited. Up to now roughly 25-30 colleagues have participated per event.

The procedure of the events is always similar: Usually two "failed" projects are presented and then discussed in the group. Each speaker has ten minutes time for this. We try to avoid PowerPoint battles, instead we prefer free speaking. This forces reduction of the content to what is most important and avoiding unnecessary complexity. Apart from this the speaker brings along a few questions that are intended to stimulate the discussion. Respectively 5-6 colleagues meet for this at standing tables, exchange with each other about the lecture and questions and document any gained understanding and learning on meta plan cards. These in turn are then shared at the end with the Plenum and are used for further stimulation of the discussion.

But the discussion does not need to end with the end of the event. We have an internal community in which also after conclusion of the event questions can be asked and "Fails“ can be shared.

One can feel your enthusiasm for this event. What is especially important for you in it?

“Failed” is more than an event, as it promotes the values that are important for me and which Roche also upholds: The courage to try something out - but to also speak openly about the things in everyday life that did not go so smoothly. It is a pity if four departments have to fail with the same problem only because the first group was not willing to share their experiences.

It is also important for me that the event is not about exposing someone or dishing out good advice. Instead we would like to use the time to look at the failed project and to jointly develop new ideas and solutions in the team.

Your colleagues are supposed to share their "Fails“ at the event – but what about your fails?

A very good question! Before Nadja and I had confronted the colleagues with our concept one thing was clear to us: We must and also want to experience this for ourselves. Completely in the spirit of one of our failed rules "conquer your ego" we each presented our own "Fails“ at the first events. The risk was very worthwhile: The resonance in the group was very good and the discussion was extremely valuable. A very enriching experience that I can only highly recommend to everyone.

Interested in becoming part of the Marketing Team and to share your "Fails“ with the colleagues from Roche Pharma? Find out more.

Tags: Career Blog, Germany