Innovation, Quality and Failure

There is an interesting discussion ongoing in our internal (behind the firewall) blog. It is getting interesting and I thought I would get some wider perspectives on this subject.

My colleague writes:

Innovation is a messy process where different alternatives need to be tried before we really get something new and useful. For one success there will be many failures. “Innovation” without some “Failure” is not feasible. Therefore, the system has to nurture failure

On the other hand “Quality” is about delivering on time, every time. “Failure” is not an option. Therefore, the system has to minimize the risk of failure

The question is “How can the same system do both?”

I couldn’t help recall an earlier post about innovation and execution. What do you think is the relation between innovation, quality and failure? How can they coexist?