Chapter 3

Embracing Risk


For us innovation means being willing to bet hundreds of millions of dollars on a new drug, labor to bring it out over a decade, fail, and then be willing to try all over again.

—Kevin Sharer1

THIS QUOTATION FROM FORMER Amgen CEO Kevin Sharer, who grew the company's revenues from $3.6 billion to $16 billion in about ten years,2 reveals a deep understanding of an essential feature of innovation and risk taking: that failure is intrinsic to the process and the innovator's best attitude is to embrace it! Taking risks really means embracing failure, in order to learn from it and do better in the future.

Innovations may fail at any of the stages of idea screening, development, prototype testing, market testing, commercialization, ...

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