Failure = Innovation!

Who do you call for product design innovation? In the case of LA5, call Grant Delgatty, Associate Professor and Chair of Product Innovation in USC’s Iovine and Young Academy (IYA).  A new model of education, the Academy was funded by a $70 million gift by visionary music producer Jimmy Iovine and pioneer rap artist Andre Young, aka Dr. Dre.  Its mission is to equip the next generation of bold leaders to think and innovate at the intersection of art and design; engineering and technology; and entrepreneurship and venture management. 

Grant Delgatty came to the IYA as a seasoned industrial designer, entrepreneur, and educator. Since graduating from ArtCenter College of Design in 1995 with a BS in industrial design, Grant has had an extensive career designing a wide range of consumer products in many different categories, including as head designer for Vans Shoes from 2001 to 2008, during which time Vans saw a 400% increase in yearly revenue. He also started several companies some more successful than others. 

In fact, his message to us was learn to embrace failure, especially as it relates to innovation.  He pointed out that there is a direct connection from failure to innovation. Things that work well, i.e., successes are based on a process of collaboration, shared ideas, and understanding what customers want. 

  • Right Timing  
  • Right product (based on these steps)
  • Educating consumers on the product story
  • Funding

The result is human/user centered design and products that have succeeded from possible failure. 

Fear of failure has stopped many a product before it ever got started.  Embracing failure is a step on the road to success, and usually results in something even better than without having failed.

On another note, a Roatarian from Italy attended this LA5 meeting. She and President Rick exchanged our respective club flags, another reminder of the broad reach and hospitality that greets each Rotarian and we travel to other clubs!