FORTUNE - Sep 26 - In his seven-year tenure as CEO of Match Group, Sam Yagan learned a few things about innovation. The first lesson Yagan shared in a presentation at Fortune's Brainstorm Reinvent conference in Chicago was to "build a culture of failure and reward it." Match Group was the first company Yagan had helmed that was the market leader rather than the disruptor. His executives were experiencing accomplishment and success; none of them had ever failed. To foster the innovation, failure had to be a part of the recipe. So, he incentivized failure, asking executives in their reviews to share a failure from the year prior. If their mistakes hadn't cost the company money, they wouldn't get their bonus.
Yagan's second lesson was to throw conventional wisdom out the window. This allowed Tinder to get off the ground. Yagan knew when Tinder was pitched to him that it went against all of the rules in the industry like keeping dating separate from social media and needing a national marketing campaign to succeed. But Yagan said he suspended his disbelief and took a risk by okaying the idea.
Third tip for innovators: "Protect your baby from your own organization." As Tinder became wildly successful, executives within Match Group began feeling threatened, Yagan said. He could have sold the business or caved to pressure from others, but Yagan stood strong in support of Tinder.
by McKenna Moore
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