One of the statistics that keeps floating around is that about 80% of new initiatives fail. This can apply to things like Six Sigma, Lean, new computer systems (e.g., ERP), etc.  Of course, failure is likely defined differently by different organizations and for different types of projects, but regardless the statistic indicates a significant issue.

We know that people (individuals) learn from experience, even failures. So whatever the failure rate for initiatives was let’s say 20 years ago was, it should be signficantly less today due to the experiences organizations have had.

But the failure rate is still stated as very high.  Why is this?  Are they not learning?  Do they not take time to close the loop and imbed good project and change management practices based on past experience?

This is an area of potential valuable research.