The Palchinsky Principles

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I enjoyed reading Tim Harford’s book Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure a lot. When it comes to tips for successful innovation, I was struck by his relating of the story of the Soviet would-be entrepreneur Peter Palchinsky, and in particular his three principles:

First, seek out new ideas and try new things; second, when trying something new, do it on a scale where failure is survivable; third, seek out feedback and learn from your mistakes as you go along.

Sound advice no doubt. Unless you’re working for Stalin, in which case you should follow the more pragmatic Khrushchev principle instead:

When Stalin says dance, a wise man dances.