Mark Payne

Mark Payne, President and founder, Fahrenheit 212. Photo courtesy of Fahrenheit 212.

I had the pleasure of sitting down for lunch with Fahrenheit 212 founder and president Mark Payne earlier this month.

Fahrenheit 212 is a consultancy based in New York City whose mission is to help other businesses grow through innovation. More specifically, Payne told me,

“We decided early on in this very mission-based way that our whole reason to exist was to move the needle on innovation success rates.”

Payne says the standard, accepted rate of innovation projects leading to revenue growth for a company is just one out of ten. Payne and company set out to change that equation.

“We made a really ballsy and potentially stupid call to tie our business model to delivering concrete outcomes. So about half of our potential fees on any engagement we make entirely contingent on our ability to achieve the goals that we set out to achieve.”

That’s in contrast Payne’s competition, says Payne.

“In the innovation space, you’ve got a lot of design firms with big reputations running around saying ‘Failure’s normal, failure’s awesome, failure’s great, get out there and fail, fail, fail!’ And a lot of it’s because they fail so often they do think it’s completely normal. We were failing at the same rate as everybody else until we said, ‘Without this convergence of the strategic and the creative, the failure rate will perpetuate.'”

Fahrenheit 212’s not-so-secret recipe for success is a clear separate between what the company calls “money” and “magic.” The separate-but-equal creative and business teams working on a given project have clearly defined roles, but they get to mix when appropriate. Add to that the milestone-based reward system, and you have a winning combination. The result, says Payne, is a 60-80% rate of successful innovation for Fahrenheit 212’s clients.

Hear more from Payne and get a glimpse of the Fahrenheit 212 office in this Fast Company piece: