In Defense of Failure

I’ve come across a number of people in the last week discussing the importance of failure in creative projects:

Randy Nelson, Dean of Pixar University, said in this video that Pixar looks for people with the ability to recover from failure – to be resilient and adaptable – not their ability to avoid failure.

Sir James Dyson, inventor of the Dyson vacuum cleaner, says in an article in Wired that “punishing mistakes doesn’t lead to better solutions or faster results. It stifles invention.”

It is easy when you’re answering to schedules and budgets and clients to lose tolerance for failure. But, as you all know, creative solutions sometimes mean taking a lot of risks. People on your teams and in your firms need to feel like it’s safe to fail, that their failures will be rewarded along with their successes. Without that environment people will just become really good at avoiding failure, not pushing the edges of what’s possible.

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